English Folk-Carols/Wassail Song

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English Folk-Carols by [[Author:Anonymous|Anonymous]]
Wassail Song
an English Wassail, a dance-like song sung by carol singers as they travelled door-to-door. This particular example was collected in the early part of the 20th century in [Buckland, Gloucestershire by Cecil Sharp from a Mr. William Bayliss. As noted by Sharp, it appears to be an area-specific variation on the better-known Gloucestershire Wassail


1. Wassail, wassail, all over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree,
With the wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee,
Drink to thee, drink to thee,
With the wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.

2. Here is to Cherry[1] and to his right cheek.
Pray God send my master a good piece of beef,
And a good piece of beef that may we all see;
With the wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.
Drink to thee, drink to thee.
With the wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.

3. Here is to Cherry and to his right eye.
Pray God send my master a good Christmas pie.
And a good Christmas pie that may we all see;
With our wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.
Drink to thee, drink to thee.
With our wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.

4. Here is to Cherry and to his right arm,
May God send my master a good crop of corn,
And a good crop of corn that may we all see;
"With the wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.
Drink to thee, drink to thee,
With the wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.

5. Here is to Cherry and to his left ear.
Pray God send my master a barrel of beer.
And a barrel of beer that may we all see;
With our wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.
Drink to thee, drink to thee,
With our wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.

6. Here's to our cow and to her long tail
Pray God send our master he never may fail
A bowl of strong beer; I pray you draw near.
And our jolly wassail it's then you shall hear.
We'll drink to thee, drink to thee,
And our jolly wassail it's then you shall hear.

7. Come, butler, come fill us a bowl of the best.
Then I hope that your soul in heaven may rest;
But if you do draw us a bowl of the small,
Then down fall butler, bowl and all!
We'll drink to thee, drink to thee.
With the wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.

8. Where is the maid with the lily white smock,
That do trip to the door and draw back the lock?
O let us all in and seek how you do,
Saying : Nan, if you will, we will welcome you too,
W'e'll drink to thee, drink to thee.
With the wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.

Cecil Sharp's note[edit]

No. 21. WASSAIL SONG.
Sung by Mr. William Bayliss at Buckland, Gloucestershire.

The first six stanzas in the text are those that Mr. Bayliss gave me; they are printed without any alteration. The last three stanzas are from a variant sung to me by Mr. Isaac Bennett of Little Sodbury (Gloucestershire). The words are very similar to, but not identical with, those of "The Gloucestershire Wassailer's Song" quoted by Bell (Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England, p. 183).

Three Somerset variants of the Wassail Song are published in Folk-Songs from Somerset (Nos. 128-30) with explanatory notes, to which the reader is referred. The Gloucestershire Wassail song, of which Mr. Bayliss's version is I think a typical example, materially differs from that of Somerset and, I believe, from that of other counties as well.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. The name of a favourite horse.
  2. Ibid., p. 68
This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.