Wassail Song

Originally at https://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/wassail_song-1.htm

Alternate Titles: “Here We Come A Wassailing,” “Here We Come A-Caroling,” and “Here We Go A-Caroling.”

Words: English Traditional, 17th century

Music: Traditional English Wassail Song, 17th century

Source: Henry Ramsden Bramley and John Stainer, Christmas Carols New and Old, Second Series (London: Novello, Ewer & Co., 1871), Carol #37

1. Here we come a wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a wandering
So fair to be seen.

Chorus
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you a happy New Year.
And God send you a happy New Year.

2. Our wassail cup is made
Of the rosemary tree,
And so is your beer
Of the best barley. Chorus

3. We are not daily beggars
That beg from door to door,
But we are neighbours’ children
Whom you have seen before. Chorus

4. Good Master and good Mistress,
As you sit by the fire,
Pray think of us poor children
Are wandering in the mire. Chorus

5. We have a little purse
Made of ratching leather skin;1
We want some of your small change2
To line it well within. Chorus

6. Call up the Butler of this house,
Put on his golden ring;
Let him bring us a glass of beer,
And the better we shall sing. Chorus

7. Bring us out a table,
And spread it with a cloth;
Bring us out a mouldy cheese,
And some of your Christmas loaf. Chorus

8. God bless the Master of this house,
Likewise the Mistress too;
And all the little children
That round the table go. Chorus

1. Bramley and Stainer add a footnote explaining that ratching is leather that will stretch. Shaw and Dearmer, in The English Carol Book, First Series, substitute the word stretching, as does Rickert

2. Joshua Sylvester has “We want a little of your money.” 

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