The TRYALL of Christmas.
THe day appointed for the As∣sizes being come; the Judge and the Sherriffe with the Justices of the Peace, came to the place where they were to sit: and first I think it would not bee amisse to tell you the Names of them; the Judge was called Judge Hate-bate, the Sherriffs name was Sir Leonard Love-peace; the Justices are call'd as followeth; the first is Justice Hate-bribe, the second is Justice Wise, the third Justice Ʋpright, the fourth Justice Doe-good, the fifth Justice Fear∣none; these with the Judge and Sheriffe, being setled on the Bench, the Judge read his Commission; after which, the chief of the Prisoners, being one Old Christmas, was commanded to bee brought to the Bar; then was a Jury for Life and Death to bee impanneld, who are for the Common-wealth, Page 8 and are to give in their Verdict according to their Evidence, and as they were to be called, there stept up one Sir Hica Busy▪ and deliver∣ed a list to the Sheriff, informing him, that the Country desired those men whose names were set down, might bee the Jury to pass upon old Christmas at the Bar; which the Sheriffe for quietness sake, delivered to the Clerk of the Arraignment, to have them cal∣led, a company of brave Gentlemen, you shall hear them named by and by.
The Clerk having received the Paper, bid the Cryer call, as followeth.
O yes, Mr. Starve-mouse.
call Mr. All-pride.
O yes, Mr. All-pride.
call Mr. Keep-all.
O yes, Mr. Keep-all.
call Mr. Love-none.
O yes, Mr. Love-none.
call Mr. Eat-alone.
O yes, Mr. Eat-alone.
call Mr. Give-little.
O yes, Mr. Give-little.
call Mr. Hoord-corn.
O yes, Mr. Hoord-corn.
call Mr. Grutch-meat.
O yes, Mr. Grutch-meat.
call Mr. Knit-gut.
O yes, Mr. Knit-gut.
call Mr. Serve-time.
O yes, Mr. Serve-time.
call Mr. Hate-good.
O yes, Mr. Hate-good.
call Mr. Cold-kitc•in.
O yes, Mr. Cold-kitchin.
Then saith the Clerk to the Cryer, count them, Starve-mouse one, All-pride two, Keep-all three, Love-none four, Eat-alone five, Give-little six, Hoord-corn seven, Grutch∣meat eight, Knit-gut nine, Serve-time ten, Hate-good eleven, Cold-kitchin twelve.
Then saith the Cryer, all you bountiful Gentlemen of the Jury answer to your names, and stand together, and hear your Charge.
With that there was such a lamentable groan heard, enough to turn ice into ashes, which caused the Judge, and the rest of the Bench, to demand what the matter was; it was replied, that the grave old Gentleman Christmas, did sound at the naming of the Jury; then it was Commanded that they should give him air, and comfort him up, so that hee might plead for himself: and Page 10 here I cannot passe by in silence the love that was expressed by the Country people, some shreeking and crying for the old man; others striving to hold him up, others hugging him, till they had almost broke the back of him, others running for Cordials and strong wa∣ters, insomuch that at last they had call'd back his wandring spirits, which were ready to take their last farewell.
Then said the Judge, old man, what's the matter?
Ah good my Lord! I have been grosly abused, and had been trodden under foot, had not these good Country peo∣ple helpt me.
But mee thought I heard some say, it was at the naming of the Jury; If thou hast ought justly to except against them, I will hear thee.
I heartily thank your Honour, and this favour which your Lordship hath granted me, hath encouraged me to crave another, and that is, That you be pleased to grant mee the benefit of a Councel, in regard of mine Age, and defect of memory and expression. Besides, the Jury are all strangers to mee, as well as enemies: and therefore I desire my Councel may be one Page 11 of this County, that so he may describe the Gentlemen of the Jury.
Well Christmas, in regard that thou wert a merry old man when I was but a Boy, and did often at thy comming make me sport, I have granted thy request, choose thy Councellor.
I humbly thank your goodnesse my Lord.
Then the old man whispered to a Friend, to deliver a Fee to Councellor Crab, and desire him to decypher the Jury, and as occasion did offer it self, to Plead his Cause.
The Fee being delivered, and accepted, the Councellor after this manner spake to the Bench.
My Lord, may it please your Honour, this Jury which is now impanneld, and to pass their Verdict upon old Christ∣mas, is illegally chosen, there is not one of them a Free-man, and all mortal enemies to this old Gentleman.
And first of all here is Mr. Starve-mouse, I wonder how hee dare shew his face in Court, the very Cats cannot abide him.
Secondly, Here is Mr. All-pride, I must confess he hath an estate.
Here's another my Lord cald Eat-alone, a Malefactor my Lord, and ought to be con∣demned by Magna Charta; where it is to be found, that one of the Lord chief Justices own Clerks being accused, was forc'd to free himself, and get it recorded, that he eat not his morsel alone.
To be short my Lord,
There's another of them cald Give∣little, hee may well be called give nothing, yet the Fool will sometimes bragge of his Charity; if he kills but an Egge, and give the offall to the needy: he is, my Lord, a great benefactor to the poor, but will bestow no∣thing upon the Beggers; and as for Master Cold-kitchin, here is his man Sam Servant, is ready to give Oath, that hee hath almost sterved him to death.
Page 13 And for Mr. Hoord-corn, the people in general all curse him, it is he that makes the Epha small, and the shekel great; good my Lord, let Justice be done upon him, unlesse he will save Gregory the labour, and follow the steps of his father, who the last cheap year hanged himself.
There's another of them cald Mr. Grutch∣meat, he may be termed grutch cloaths too, for his cloathes were never young in my me∣mory, they may be set down in the Almanack with the dear year, and the great frost: he is one that never gave Almes in his life, the house of his owne body he will not keep Te∣nantable, but it had been irrecoverably de∣cayed; had it not been for the reparations of other mens Tables, where hee hoords up meat enough for a month; in a word, my Lord, he is a base fellow, and so I leave him.
There's another of them cald Mr. Serve∣time, he dwells at the signe of the Weather∣cock; he hath a glove for every hand, he holds it most safe to do as most do, right or wrong, he'l be on the harder side.
So my Lord not sit for a Juror, because he Page 14 makes conscience of nothing.
Were there ever such a brood of Vipers as these, Mr. Sheriffe, how came this to pass?
Surely my Lord it was Sir Hica Busy that gave me the List, and told mee, it was the Countries desire that these men should bee the Jury; and I was induced to beleeve it, in regard I know him to bee a popular man.
With this the Jury began to murmure, and told the Judge that the Councellor had a∣bused them to please his Client, as most of his fraternity will doe; and therefore would appeal, or stand to justification.
My Lord, here are some witnes∣ses to prove the truth of what I have spoken.
Let them come in.
Cryer, call Humility.
O yes, Humility.
Come friend, can you testifie any thing against any of the Jury?
My Lord, I am convinced, that all that hath been spoken by the Worshipfull Councellor is true, but especially I can speak something more against Mr. All-pride than hath been yet declared: for may it please your Honour, hee hath indeavoured to mur∣der Page 15 mee, and my Neighbour Patience: all his practice is in brave cloaths, bigge looks, swearing and swaggering, and insulting over his poore Neighbours, there was one Mr. Good-work lived in the house before this fel∣low threw him out of the doores; he spent more in Mustard every year, than this gaudy Gentleman doth in Beef, hee keeps two wicked men to his Servants; the one is call'd Stony-heart, the other Bribe, and these help to keep him up in his wicked courses.
My Lord, here are many more witnesses if your Lordship please to examine them.
No, no, this is no Joshad's day; Mr. Sheriffe, let another Jury be impanneld im∣mediately, a pack like the former, if they bee to be gotten,
The Jury being chosen, were called as followeth.
- Mr. Love-friend one.
- Mr. Hate-strife two.
- Mr. Free-man three.
- Mr. Cloath-back four.
- Mr. Warm-gut five.
- Mr. Good-work six.
- Page 16Mr. Neighbour-hood seven.
- Mr. Ope-house eight.
- Mr. Scorn-use nine.
- Mr. Soft-heart ten.
- Mr. Merry-man eleven.
- Mr. True-love twelve.
No man taking any exception against this Jury, the Clerk read the Inditement against old Christmas, as followeth.
Christmas hearken to they Inditement.
thou art here Indited by the name of Christmas, of the Town of Super∣stition in the County of Idolatry, and that thou hast from time to time abused the peo∣ple of this Common-wealth, drawing and in∣ticing them to Drunkennesse, Gluttony, and unlawful Gaming, Wantonnesse, Uncleanness, Lasciviousness, Cursing, Swearing, abuse of the Creatures, some to one Vice, and some to another, all to Idleness: what sayest thou to thy Inditement, guilty, or not guilty? he an∣swered not guilty, and so put himself to the Tryall.
After this, the Parties that can give Evi∣dence against him are call'd.
Cryer call in Gregory Grutch∣meat.
O yes Gregory Grutchmeat.
Come you thin belly, what can you say against the Prisoner at the barr, dost thou know him?
Know him, yes my Lord, his name is Christmas, a great waster & spend∣thrift, he hath been all his days nothing like Sampsons Lyon, out of that eater came forth meat, but this old fellow devours all, and produces nothing, hee passes the great eater of Kent, his mind is wholly set upon his belly, for satisfaction of which, hee murders the poor innocent Creatures: My Lord, let the Records be searcht; and before the flood, we cannot find, that man ever eat any thing but fruit or hearbs, but this Cormorant is all for flesh flesh, and eats it with the blood thereof, which is the cause that he is so beastly minded, a meer Esau, he will sell, his birthright to satisfy his belly, he is a Bastard, begotten of the horseleaches Daugh∣ter continually crying, give, give; Some peo∣ple of this Nation are so besotted by this old fool, that they make a world of provision a∣gainst his coming, and invite him to be Gos∣sip to all their Pyes, and call them after his name, Christmas-Pyes.
My Lord, here is an honest Neighbour of mine called Pinch-gut, can testify as much as my self.
Cryer call Pinch-gut.
O yes, Mr. Pinch-gut.
Come fellow, what can you say a∣gainst the Prisoner?
I perceive my Lord the Councel∣lor is purposed to abuse us, to please his Clyent, as all the fraternity will do, but I would have him know, that I was well descended, my Father was call'd Saving, and my Mothers name was Spare, a very good hous-wife; and of great repute amongst the Farmers.
Fellow, I am not come here to exa∣mine pedigrees, were they as Authentick as a Welch-mans. But come let me hear what thou canst say in the behalf of the Common∣wealth, against the Prisoner at the Barr.
My Lord, I can say that this Old man is an Epicure, all his delight is to please his Pallat, his throat is an open Se∣pulchre, he is the Canker of the Common∣wealth; worse than the Locust; or the Pal∣mer-worm, and this is the summe of what I can testify.
What witnesses are there more?
call Mr. Allwork.
O yes, Mr. Allwork Allwork All∣work.
Friend, whats the matter you must have so much calling, and so long com∣ing?
I was very busy my Lord, in my shop.
Can you evidence any thing against the Prisoner?
I can witnesse that he is a very idle fellow: I saw a warrant the other day un∣der the Lord chief Justices own hand; Com∣manding us to work six days, and this old villain would perswade us to play twelve: he teaches also revelling and rebellion, we cannot bear any rule with our servants when he come, for if we command them to fol∣low their work, they will murmur and deny it, saying is it not Christmas time?
Thus my Lord, and severall other wayes, he is the Author of Rebellion and sedition, in fine my Lord, he brings with him, both fire, fuel, and bellows of contention, thus be∣ing extream hasty, about my labour, I desire your honour to excuse me.
Are there any more?
Call Mr. Meanwell.
O yes, Mr. Meanwell.
Come fellow, what can you say?
My Lord, I can say that this Old man is a spend-thrift, a riotous spoil-good, he is the chief cause that the good Creatures are abused, he is a superstitious and an Ido∣latrous fellow, an observer of times, he makes his belly his God, a meer Dives, he faresde∣liciously every day, but his feasting is the cause of poor Eazarus his fasting.
He provokes only to wanton fullnesse, & lustfull love, he makes those that love him, and his company, unfit for any good dutys; but on the contrary, he makes them ready for all evil, as uncleannesse, scurrility, vain talking, and the like, he is like the Idola∣trous Israelites, they eat and drank, no men∣tion of grace before meat; and rose up to play; there's no mention of grace after meat, just so doth he, he teaches that which the people of the old World practised; only eating and drinking, and such other de∣lights▪ This was he my Lord that invited Iobs sons to dinner.
He overcomes men with surfeiting, and Page 21 Drunkonn•sse, and makes them that they cannot pronounce Shiboleth: he hath twelve sons, all follow the steps of their Father, and they keep company with one Mr. Prodigul, Mr. Wast-full, Belly-chear, and Idle, with Mr. Gamester, and such others like them, all the accursed Brats of base men, here is a friend of mine, called Mris. Prudence, she can inform your honour of some thing else.
Call Mris. Prudence.
O yes, Mris. Prudence.
Make room for that Gentlewoman to come in, Come good woman, are not you a stranger-hereabouts.
My Lord, wheresoever your ho∣nour is, I desire to be your hand-maid, as for my residence, it is most in the University, & here and there, sometimes in the Countrey, I Page 22 am found as soon in a lowly Cottage, as un∣der a lofty Crown.
I have a Sister call'd Wisdome, we always travell and dwell together.
Jury take a speciall notice of this womans testimony, and get as much ac∣quaintance with her & her sister as you can, Come vertuous woman, let me hear what thou canst say, in the behalf of the Common∣wealth against the Prisoner.
My Lord, much hath been already spoken, and much more I can say, this Old man hath been one chief instrument that I & my Children have been abused. I have three Daughters, My Lord, the first is called Pati∣ence, the second Temperance, and the third Chastity, & one so named Sobriety, all these by this Christmasses means, are injuriously dealt withall, and violently handled: which before his coming, were in good estimation in Gentlemens houses; my daughter Patience is an admirable good servant, she uses to look to the Children, and servants, & would keep them in love, peace, and quiet, if at any time she were reviled, she would not revile again.
Iosephs words were often in her mouth, see that yee fall not out by the way: she is an excellent Labourer▪ and in the winter time of adversity, no Christian able to live with∣out her, yet this naughty fellow, hath much Page 23 wronged this my Daughter, and caused her to be thrown out of doors: for wheresoever he is entertain'd he carries a very base fel∣low called Gamester with him, and he hath two companions, the one called Spendall, and the other Careless; these will ride abroad night times, vizarded to glean money, to maintain their play, and make men stand, that would fain be going, and leave the stranger with a heavy heart, and light purse: This Gamester hath also one chief man cal∣led Anger, and also two Pages, the one called Swearing, the other Cursing, and when there is any difference about their Masters play, these two presently call in two others as good as themselves, one named Quarrelling, the other named Fighting; and these murder my daughter Patience.
For my second Daughter Temperance, she is a very abstemious maid, and uses al∣waies to wait upon the Table, before this wicked wretch comes, & then she is banisht, or choaked, at the best thrown out of the doors: and then perhaps, must lye without in the street, no entertainment can get, if he be in the Town, unless it be at some honest Tra∣desmans house, it may be at the Ministers, if he be one of the last edition.
My third Daughter Chastity is as beauti∣full as the Sun, and she is a Chamber-maid, Page 24 and this fellow is the cause that she is abused also, for Gluttony hath two Associates, Chambering & Wantonnesse, and these kick my poor Daughter diverse times down the staires; Thus my Lord, my Children whom I have so educated, as they are fit Companions for Princes, are by this vile Varlet abused: my Lord in few words, he is the cause that many men make their Tables and Alter to their belly, and a snare to their souls.
Prudence many women have dont vertuously, but thou hast excelled them all.
Good my Lord pity me?
I do, and will pity thee.
Old Christmas hold up thy head and speak for thy self, thou hast heard thy inditement, & also what all these Witnesses have evidenced against thee: what sayest thou now for thy self, that sentence of con∣demnation should not be pronounced a∣gainst thee?
Good my Lord be favourable to an old man, I am above one thousand six hundred years old, & never was questioned at Sizes or Sessions before: my Lord, look Page 25 on these white hairs, are they not a Crown of glory?
Yea, if they be found in a good way.
I hope you shall not find these in a bad way.
And first my Lord, I am wronged in be∣ing indited by a wrong name. I am corrupt∣ly called Christmas, my name is Christ∣tide, or time.
And though I generally come at a set time, yet I am with him every day that knows how to use me.
My Lord, let the Records be searcht, and you shall find, that the Angels rejoyc'd at my coming, and sung gloria in excelsis: The Patriarcks, and Prophets; longed to see me.
The fathers have sweetly imbraced me, our modern Divines all comfortably cherisht mee, O let me not be despised now I am old. Is there not an injunction in Magna Char∣ta, that commands men to inquire for the old way, which is the good way: many good deeds do I do, O why do the people hate me? we are commanded to be given to Hospita∣lity, and this hath been my practise from my youth upward: I come to put men in mind of their redemption: to have them love one the other, to impart with something here below, that they may receive more and bet∣ter Page 26 things above: the wiseman saith, there is a time for all things, and why not for thankfulnesse? I have been the cause, that at my coming Ministers have instructed the people every day in the Publick: telling the people how they should use me, and o∣ther delights, not to effeminate or corrupt the mind▪ and bid them abhor those plea∣sures from which they should not use bet∣tered, and that they should by no means turn pass-time into Trade: And if that at any time they have stept an inch into ex∣cesse, to punish themselves for it, and be ever after the more carefull to keep within com∣pass.
And did also advise them, to manage their sports without Passion: They would also tell the people, that their feasts should not be much more than nature requires, and grace mederates: not pinching, nor pampering: And whereas they say that I am the cause they sit down to meat, and rise up again gracelesse, they abundantly wrong me: I have told them, that before any one should put his hand in the dish, he should look up to the owner; and hate to put one morsell in his mouth unblessed: I tell them they ought to give thanks for that which is paid for al∣ready, knowing that neither the meat, nor the mouth, nor the man, are of his own ma∣king: I bid them fill their bellies, not their Page 27 eyes, and rise from the board, not glutted but only satisfied: and charge them to have a care, that their guts be no hinderances to their brains, or hands: and that they should not loose themselves in their feasts; but bid hem be soberly merry, and wisely free. I also advise them to get friendly thrift to be their Caterer, and Temperance to Carve at the board, and be very watchfull that Obscenity, detraction, and scurrility, be banisht the Table: But let their discourse be as savoury as the meat: and so feed as though they did eat to live, not live to eat: and at last, rise as full of thankfulnesse, as of food: This hath, this is, and this shall be my continuall practise: now concerning the particulars that these folks charge me with, I cannot answer them, because I do not remember them; my memory is but weak, as old mens use to be: but me thinks they seem to be the seed of the dra∣gon, they send forth of their mouths, whole floods of impious inventions against me, and lay to my charge things that I am not guilty of: which hath caused some of my friends to forsake me, and look upon me as a stranger: My Brother Good-works broke his heart, when he hear don't: my sister Charity was taken with the Num∣Palsy, so that she cannot stretch forth an hand: O tell it not in the City, nor publish Page 28 it in the Country: my Lord, I am but a bad Orator, therefore I humbly desire your ho∣nour, to hearken to my Councell and wit∣nesses.
Councellor, what can you say.
Me thinks my Lord, the very Clouds blush, to see this old Gentleman thus egre∣giously abused▪ if at any time any have abu∣sed themselves by immoderate eating, and drinking or otherwise spoil the creatures, it is none of this old mans fault; neither ought he to suffer for it; for example the Sun and the Moon are by the heathe is worship'• are they therefore bad because idolized? so if any abuse this old man, they are bad for abusing him, not he bad, for being abused: These Bastards of Amon, have abused him, and therefore now would banish him: far beit from my Lord, to casheir a good thing, with the base use annexed thereunto: They term his charity wasting and spoiling, the ma∣king of Idlers, and encreasing of Beggers: But where too much charity hath slain her thousands, too little hath slain her ten thou∣sands some of these witnesses did hint at Religion, but I believe they are maidens for that, the first that wooes them may win them they tax him of Rebellion, and sedition, but Page 29 how can love and peace be the Author of that: for that is his Motto:
As for Mris. Prudence, because your ho∣nour is pleased to give more credence to her testimony, than to any of the rest; I shall answer her in particulars: and first for her children, I must confesse as she said, they are fit Companions for Princes, but she stan∣ders Old Father Christmas, to say that he ever wronged any of them: no, he ever had a good esteem of them, it was one Anger, a fiery fellow, with Wrath and Rage his Sons; that threw her daughter Patience out of doors, and not he and for her daughter Temperance it was Gluttony, and unsatia∣ble appetite, that abused her and not this old man.
And for her daughter Chastity, it was a scurvy scabby fellow, called Carnal Concu∣piscence: that forced her, therefore I beseech your honour; give not any ear to these false reports: then said the Judge, Mr. Sheriffe give order for the apprehending of these fel∣lows, and presently after apprehending of them, execute them.
My Lord here are some honest men, desire to give in their evidence in the old mansbehalf.
Who are they, let them be called.
Cryer, call Simon Servant.
O yes, Simon Servant.
Call Peter Poor.
Call, Nicholas Neighborhood.
Come Simon Servant, what can you say in behalf of the Old man here.
My Lord, I live at the Town of Bond, in the County of little Rest; my Ma∣ster is called Mr. Hard-heart, a great ene∣my to his old father at the barr: but for mine own part, I will speak upon my oath; that I had suffered more than an Egyptian bondage had it not been for him.
I had had a Sabbathlesse pursuit of my ma∣sters Labour, had it not been for him: the very beasts that groan under the burden are beholden to him for ease, for when the Oxe and the Asses neck, seem'd married to the yoak, he divorc't them, the very Jews had their Jubilees, times of rest, therefore good my Lord, if you give us nothing, keep not our brick and straw from us.
Peter Poor, what can you say.
My Lord, I dwell at the Town of Want, in the County of Needs, Poor in name, and poor in estate: and had it not been for old Christmas I had been poorer, if Page 31 poorer I could have been; had it not been for him, my best friend God-free Giving, had lost his life: all that have spoke against him, are all Gadarens, and of the Linage of Naball, (Mris. Prudence only excepted) if you take away this merry old Gentleman from us, you take away all our Joy, and comfort that we have on earth.
Call Mr. Neighborhood.
O yes, Neighborhood.
Come friend what can you say?
May it please you my Lord, I dwell at the Town of Amity, in the Coun∣ty of Unity, my Father was the good Sama∣ritan, and my Mother was called Dorcas, and all that I can say for this Old man is, that he is a very kind and loving man; in∣offensive to all: a hater of strise, a lover of harmless mirth: our whole Town & County are much beholding to him when he comes, for he uses all means to bring us together, & to renew friendship: he is a great Peacemaker, if there have been any difference betwixt par∣ty, & party, he will indeavour to end it in an amicable way: he alwayes uses to tell me (next God) I must love my name sake, to glo∣ify the first, & tenderly affect the second: in