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.