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King of Misrule

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Sometimes called Lord, and sometimes Abbot, etc. At Oxford and Cambridge one of the Masters of Arts superintended both the Christmas and Candlemas sports, for which he was allowed a fee of 40s. These diversions continued till the Reformation. Polydore Vergil says of the feast of Misrule that it was “derived from the Roman Saturnalia,” held in December for five days (17th to 22nd). The Feast of Misrule lasted twelve days.

“If we compare our Bacchanalian Christmases and New Year-tides with these Saturnalia and Feasts of Janus, we shall finde such near affinitye between them both in regard of time … and in their manner of solemnising … that wee must needs conclude the one to be the very ape or issue of the other.”—Prynne: Histrio-Mastix.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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King Pétaud
King Ryence
King Stork
King-of-Arms
King of Bark
King of Bath
King of Beasts
King of Dalkey
King of Khorassan
King of Metals
King of Misrule
King of Painters
King of Preachers
King of Rome
King of Shreds and Patches
King of Spain’s Trampeter (The)
King of Terrors
King of Waters
King of Yvetot (pron. Ev-to)
King of the Bean (roi de la fève)
King of the Beggars