The Twelve Days of Christmas

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The Twelve Days of Christmas  (1825) 
Anonymous

The Twelve Days of Christmas and the associated evenings of those twelve days (Twelve-tide), are the festive days from the evening after Christmas day (December 25) through Epiphany on (January 6). December 26 (Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day) is the first day of Christmas, then December 27 is the second day of Christmas, and so on until January 6 which is the 12th day of Christmas. Christmas day, December 25, is therefore not one of the twelve days of Christmas. The associated evenings of the twelve days begin on the evening before the specified day. Thus, the first-night is December 25–26, and Twelfth-night is January 5–6. Note that the edition listed here is from a publication by Angus in Newcastle upon Tyne no later than 1825; the more familiar modern version, introduced by Frederic Austin in 1909, rearranges of the last four gifts: "twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords-a-leaping" and "nine ladies dancing." Austin's version also changes the fourth gift from the archaic "colley birds" to "calling birds."


THE
TWELVE DAYS
OF
CHRISTMAS.

THE first day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

The second day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree.

The third day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree.

The fourth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Four colly birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree.

The fifth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Five gold rings,
Four colly birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree.

The sixth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Six geese a laying,
Five gold rings,
Four colly birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree.

The seventh day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying,
Five gold rings,
Four colly birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree.

The eighth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Eight maids a milking,
Seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying,
Five gold rings,
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree.

The ninth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Nine drummers drumming,
Eight maids a milking,
Seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying,
Five gold rings,
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree.

The tenth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Ten pipers piping,
Nine drummers drumming,
Eight maids a milking,
Seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying,
Five gold rings,
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree.

The eleventh day of Christmas
My true love sent to me
Eleven ladies dancing,
Ten pipers piping,
Nine drummers drumming,
Eight maids a milking,
Seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying,
Five gold rings,
Four colly birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree.

The twelfth day of Christmas
My true love sent to me
Twelve lords a leaping,
Eleven ladies dancing,
Ten pipers piping,
Nine drummers drumming,
Eight maids a milking,
Seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying,
Five gold rings,
Four colley birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree.


This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.