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Youling

from Popular Rhymes And Nursery Tales - CUSTOM RHYMES





In Rogation week there is or was an odd custom in the country about
Keston and Wickham, in Kent. A number of young men meet together for the
purpose, and, with a most hideous noise, run into the orchards, and,
encircling each tree, pronounce these words:

Stand fast, root; bear well, top;
God send us a youling sop!
E'ry twig, apple big;
E'ry bough, apple enow.
Hats full, caps full,
Full quarter sacks full.

For this incantation the confused rabble expect a gratuity in money, or
drink, which is no less welcome; but if they are disappointed in both,
they, with great solemnity, anathematize the owners and trees with
altogether as insignificant a curse.

"It seems highly probable," says Hasted, in his History of Kent, "that
this custom has arisen from the ancient one of perambulation among the
heathens, when they made their prayers to the gods, for the use and
blessing of the fruits coming up, with thanksgiving for those of the
preceding year; and as the heathens supplicated Eolus, the god of the
winds, for his favorable blasts, so in this custom they still retain his
name, with a very small variation, the ceremony being called yeuling;
and the word is often used in their invocations."





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