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Dogs Thence Run


One reader, Lori, actually managed to find a legitimate Christmas carol that mentions dogs—not, albeit, a Christmas carol anyone would ever have heard of, nor, alas, a Christmas carol of any particular memorability or beauty. But “Now is Come Our Joyfull’st Feast” represents a Christmas carol all the same, religious in subject, conventional in rhyme scheme, and dating from the great era of carols, the mid-nineteenth century.

Once you’ve read the first stanza you’ll have a pretty good idea of the way all twelve stanzas chug along:

So, now is come our joyfulst feast;

Let every man be jolly;

Each room with ivy leaves is drest,

And every post with holly.

Though some churls at our mirth repine,

Round your foreheads garlands twine;

Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,

And let us all be merry.

The doggie stanza? The fourth:

Rank misers now to sparing shun;

Their hall of music soundeth;

And dogs thence with whole shoulders run,

So all things there aboundeth.

The country folks themselves advance

With crowdy-muttons out of France;

And Jack shall pipe, and Jyll shall dance,

And all the town be merry.

What does it mean for a dog to run “with whole shoulders?” I have absolutely no idea. But thank you, Lori–and for the whole carol, everyone else, click here.


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