In this section, the original introduction from the ‘Complaint of Christmas’, we have the summary of his message as he gives the prodigious and the Scrooges an earful and praises the stout yeoman that he met on his travels in England.
To the most mighty, much unworthy honored, and to the Right Richworshipped disworshipped, & to the al-to much powerfull and respected; the miserable Money mongers & Mammonists, whose hatefull habitations are within the bounds of Europe or the Pales of Christendome; Christmas sends Greeting.
TAke it as you please you Almighty makers of Beggers, you pro|uokers of Theeves and encreasers of Vagabonds; I, I my selfe, old Christmas (without feare or flattery, proclaimes your base entertainment, are you all turn’d Foxfur’d, Goldfinches Wolves, Cormorants, Caterpillers, & Curmudgeans? Hath the divel & the world so besotted and bewitched you, that you will wilfully spend your dayes miserably, to end your lives detestedly? will you live poore to dye rich? will you empty your consciences, to fill your bagges? and will you pinch your bellies to starve yoursoules? Hee that should have told mee for five hundred yeares ago, that Christmas and Hospitalitie should have bin thus unregarded and sleighted, I shold have held him for a lying Prophet, and a false Prognosticator. Oh mad and brutish age, wherein the avarice of one is the prejudice of thousands; when the Coach eates up the Cart, the Backe robs the Belly, when the Perfumes, crewels, cullisses and the Castingbottle, makes a warme Chamber and a cold Kitchin; Know you thick skin’d Hide-bound Chuffes, that you are hared of God & men, yea your owne children or heires (for whom you rake and ravine) doe inwardly curse & hate you, and know, that what most vilely you get over the divels backe, your inheritours will as wickedly spend under his Dammes belly. What a shame it is (if you had the grace to see it) that you shold give your mindes to live upon the unnaturall lecherie and engendring of money, that all the meate you eate in your owne houses is the accursed spawnes of oppression, extortion, bribery, and insatiatcouetousnes: and yet some of you keepe no houses at all, but pinch your owne and your families guttes at home, when at other mens boords you are tirants, where you turne the old custome backeward, and instead of keeping Christmas, you (like droves) make Christmas keepe you; but take it for a warning, let me not finde itso the next yeere; for if I do, I will send you such guests as shall never forsake you; as the Dropsie, Gout, collick, the Stone, & the like kinde tokens of my just anger, which you shall receive as most worthy & deserved
Your friend or foe, as you hereafter use him, Chritmas.
To the most Right and truely honorable, to the Rightly approved and deservinglie beloved, right Worshipfull, and to the Rest of the smal number of Liberall and Charitable Houskeepers of Christendome; old Christmas sends loving Commendations.
YOU that are thicke sowne and thin come up, as if the world were barren of vertue, or past breeding of Goodnesse: you that are as rare as Phenixes, as scare as black Swans or white Negroes, and as much to be held in admiration as Snow in July, Strawberries in December, the Sunshine at Midnight, or a blazing Starre at Noone: I assure you my brave worthy Benefactors, that I your ancient and yeerly Guest (Christmas,) am heartily sorry to see your quondam number so much shrunke in the wetting; and although you are falne into that lamentable consumption that I with my friends favourers and followers can scarcely finde the tithe of my former entertainment: yet (to shew my thankefull memory to your worthy predecessors,) with my gratefulnesse to you (too few) that are surviuers, and to encourage a fruitfull Spring, enease or multiplication of your successors. I send to you this my loving & friendly Epistle. [illeg.] You in your discetions, hold the commendable and golden meane way betwixt the two extreame Gulphs of Niggerality and prodegality, betwixt Hunger & Gluttony, betwixt Hide all & Spend all, betwixt wilful Slavery and wastefull Bravery. I wish most unfeignedly that the dew of Heaven may descend blessedly, that you may fructifie, multiply fruitfully, encrease and ampliffe, like the tree which Nabuchadnezar drempt of, whose toppe reach’d to Heaven, and whose branches extended and stretch’d to the ends of the Earth: you have the Celestiall Graces; your Hope is constant, your Faith is fervent, your Charity is frequent: your Hope is in assurance of that never faiing possession wherein the unblasted tree of your Faith is firmely fixed and rooted; and your Charity is the pious fruit which springs from that faithfull Tree. And he that with his Grace doth plant it, water it, and cause it to increase, will crowne his own gifts on your heads, that are his beloved instruments; not onely here, with blessings transitory and temporall, but hereafter with that unspeakable glory which was, is, and shall bee permanent and Eternall.
Yours in the best of friendship, Christmas.
To the Profuse Sardana pallitanians, most famous Infamous Heliogabalonians, the compleat companie of Cockbrain’d whimsie-pated Gul-Gallants, the inte~perate prodigals and a busiuely nic nam’d and cald either Honorable, worshipful honest, wise, or any stile or title that hath a relish of Commendations.
BRave Sparks have amongst you, though Christmas be old, yet you shall perceive that hee neither feares your Toledoes, Bilboes, or [illeg.] Steelettoes ; I know that each of you have more shadow than substance, more tongue than truth, and more haire than wit, though many of you be bald or beardlesse. You that have [illeg.] Ror’d away your Land, Whor’d away your money, and Scor’d away your credits; that with often unnaturall going to bed at Sun-rising, and rising at supper time to breakefast, by turning the course of time out of his natural circumuolution; as the day into night, and the night into day, like Owles, Bats, and Glowormes, are monsters against nature, that pay more for the maring of your clothes, then for the making, giving twice as much for the cutting as for the sowing; whose exercise is drinking and dicing, and whose grace is swearing; who entertaine old Christmas with Gluttony and Ebriety, with the ill gotten expences of thievery, cheating, unthristy borrowing, unmeasurable exhausting, unmercifull oppressing, or any unlawfull obtaining; Know, all the whole kennell or litter of you, that I scorne you and your surfeiting welcome: let me perswade you to be wiser hereafter, and not to keepe mee company in such prodigall manner, that you must be forced to fare the worse all the yeere after: Let it not bee imputed to mee, that I and my company did in twelve dayes, eate up that which shold have lasted 365. The old Proverb saith Enough is a feast, and as you love to feast, so have no more then enough, lest to much feasting perforce, doe breed and engender to much fasting spight of your teeth. Finally, Know, that I doe come every yeere in memory of a great blessing, and I would not have your wastefull profusenesse to turne that blessed time of Remembrance into an accursed use of impious blasphemie, and worse then Heathenish, Paganish, Bacchanalliall Beastiallitie. So wishing every of you to use your best endevours each one to mend one, I leave you till the next yeere, in small hope to have my request granted.
No way your friend, till you mend your manners, Christmas.
In the next instalment; A Christmas Carol