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H Cbristmas (5arlan&. 

i^oiucll, nohjcll, nohjcll, nobjell. 

fflJKfjo gs tfjere tfjat sgngitlj so noiocll, noiucll, nofecll? 

E am fjere, sgre CTristmasse : 

SSScll come, mg lorti sgrc Cristmasse, 

aSEflcomc to ijs all botfje mote ^ lassc, 

ffl^om ner, nobell. 

Miths ioous gar^e, fteiwe sgre, tgtigngcs g gott brgng, 
^ magtie tatJ} born a cljglUc full gong 
CfjE ij)crf)e causeti^ geiu for to S5gng, 

Criste is noiu born of a pure magrie, 
5n an oie stalle fje gs lagtie, 
SSSfjer'for sgng iue alle atte abragUe, 

Bebbei bfen par tutte la compang, 
ISafee gotie c^ere anti be rggljt merg, 
^nti sgng ioitlj bs nob iogfullg, 



With a good old fashion, when Christinasse was come, 
To call in all his old neighbours with bagpipe and drum. 


l ^iii^ifc^JXv^^^ T ^jJjii^^ 

a Cbrietmae (Barlanb 

Ca^odjS hnd Poemj^ 







One hundred and fifty copies of this Edition on Laid 
paper, medium 8vo, have been printed, with the illustra- 
tions on Japanese paper, and are numbered consecutively 
as issued. 

No. UO 


- % 

Uo ms TOife. 

When skies were blue and hearts were gay. 
We wandered in the prime of May 
By primrose-banks, and where the breeze 
Shook snow-bloom from the cherry-trees. 
And golden gorse stretched leagues away. 

When August eves were cool and sweet. 
We watched the slant rays gild the wheat. 
Or far down woodland alleys lone 
Heard stock-doves make delicious moan, 
And chid the hours that flew so fleet. 

Now, while the twinkling shadows fall 
Athwart the casement and the wall. 
Beside the fire-lighf s ruddy gleam. 
As day goes down, we muse and dream. 
And all our past delights recall. 

Tho^ envious mists usurp the 'morn. 

And mire lies deep in ways forlorn. 

Sweet Heart, while Love our feet shall guide^ 

What ills, forsooth, can us betide 

Who laugh the darkling days to scorn f 

j y^gs^g^giaftsii^ j ^^.^^ 



Dedication v 

Preface xiii 


In every place I shall tell this ( Coventry Mysteries) . . i 

Welcome Yule ........ 2 

I sing of a maiden ........ 4 

In Excelsis Gloria ........ 6 

The first Nowell the Angel did say ..... 7 

In Bethlehem that noble place . . . . . .10 

A New Carol of our Lady 12 

The Virgin and Child • -IS 

About the field they piped full right . . . . -19 

This endnes night I saw a sight . . . . .21 

/ saw three ships come sailing in . . . . •23 

As I sat under a sycamore tree . ..... 25 

My sweet little baby, dr'c. ...... 26 

Joseph was an old man ....... 29 

Saint Stephen was a Clerk ...... 33 

Remember, thou Man ...... 36 

God rest you, merry gentlemen . ..... 40 

To-morrow shall be my dancing day .... 43 

The Holy Well 46 

The Carnal and the Crane . . . . . .49 

Joys Seven ......... 55 

The moon shines bright ....... 58 

■f'a^^^=??gi^ $^^=^^^^g'ggg'«j^^^ 



A Virgin most pure , 6i ''^ 

The Saviour of all people 64 

A Christmas Carol {by Robert Herrick) . . . .66 

The contest of the Ivy and the Holly 68 

Modryb Marya {by R. S. Hawker) . . . . • T^ 

The Child Jesus {by R. S. Hawker) 73 

The Shepherds went their hasty way {by S. T. Coleridge) . 75 
In the bleak mid-winter {by Miss Christina G. Rossetti) . 78 
Masters, in this hall {by Mr. William Morris) ... 80 
Outlanders, whence come ye last {by Mr. William Morris) 84 
Three damsels in the Queen's chamber {by Mr. A. C. Swin- 
burne) 87 

Part m. 


On the morning of Christ^ s Nativity {by John Milton) 
Who can forget {by Giles Fletcher) .... 
The Shepherds {by Henry Vaughan) .... 
Chrisfs Nativity {by Henry Vaughan) 
New Prince^ New Pomp {by Robert Southwell) . 

Christmas {by George Herbert) 

For Christmas Day {by Bishop Hall) 

The Shepherd's Song {by E. Bolton) .... 

A Hymn on the Nativity of my Saviour {by Ben Jonson) 

A Hymn of the Nativity {by Richard Crashaw). 

A Hymn for the Epiphany {by Richard Crashaw) . 

The Angels {by William Drummond) 

The Shepherds {by William Drummond) . 

Of the Epiphany {by Sir John Beaumont) 

Where is this blessed Babe {by Jeremy Taylor) . 

Awake^ my Soulj and come away {by Jeremy Taylor) 




And they laid Him in a manger (by Sir Edward Sher- 
burne) 136 

An ode on the Birth of our Saviour {by Robert Herrick) . 138 
Rejoice, rejoice, with heart and voice [by Francis Kinwel- 

mersh) 140 

The Virgin's Cradle- Hymn (by S. T. Coleridge) . .142 

A Christmas Lullaby (by Mr. J. A. Symonds) . . . 143 

A Rocking Hymn (by George Wither) .... 145 

Part ra. 


So now is come our joy fulst feast (by George Wither) 
Ceremonies for Christmas (by Robert Herrick) 
The Praise of Christmas . 
Old Christmas Returned . 
O you merry, merry souls . 
A Carol. Bringing in the Boards Head 
The Boar's Head Carol (as sung at QueerHs College, Oxford) 
The Boar's Head Carol (as sung at St. fohn^s College, 
Oxford, in 1607) . . ... 

The Wassail (by Robert Herrick) 

A jolly wassail bowl 

We wish you merry Christmas ( Wassailing song) 

Here we come a whistling 

Wassail, wassail, all over the town 

Bring us in good ale . 

Come follow, follow 7ne . . . . . 

All you that are good fellows ...... 

Come, mad boys . 

Come bravely on, my masters 

My master and dame, I well perceive 



IVt/k merry glee and solace 199 

In honour of Saint John we thus 202 

The New Year is begun ....... 205 

The young men and maids on New Yearns Day , . . 209 

The Old Year now away is fled 211 

Provide for Christmas . ' 214 

Now thrice welcome, Christmas 215 

Now that the time is come wherein 217 

Now enter Christmas like a man 219 

Now Christmas comes ^ Uisfit that we . . . .221 

Maids get up and bake your pies 223 

To shorten Winter's sadness 225 

No news of navies burnt at seas {by Robert Herrick) . . 226 

Now, now the mirth comes (by Robert Herrick) . . 229 
Christmas in the Olden Time [by Sir Waltei- Scott) . .231 

Christmas Minstrelsy {by William Wordsworth) . . 234 

Farewell to Christmas. 

Mark well my heavy doleful tale .... 239 

Now farewell, good Christmas 242 

Christmas hath made an end 244 

Notes . . 249 

^ j g pfeaffiSga^aSa^ ^j ^^^ 

Xtst of Jllustrations* 

'* With a good old fashion, when Christmasse was come. 
To call in all his old neighbours with bagpipe and drum." 


Dread ye nought, said the Angel bright^ 
Salvator mundi natus est. " 

*' The inns are full, no man will yield 
This little pilgrim bed ; 
But forced he is with silly beasts 
In crib to shroud his head.^^ 

Page lo. 

Page III. 

Some youths will now a mumming go ^ 

Page 153. 

** Come, bring with a noise, 

My merry, merry boys. 

The Christmas log to the firing. ' 

" With footsteps sore 
From door to door 
We trudge through sleet and snow." 

Then the grim boar's head frowned on high." 

Page 154. 

Page 180. 

Page 232. 


{ ^^jiii^a£j»i^$iisi^j^^ 


IT is a commonplace with poets to lament over the 
degeneracy of the times. Even Homer thought 
the world was in a parlous state, for he twits his coun- 
trymen with their feebleness, protesting that two picked 
men could hardly lift on to a waggon the stone which 
Hector brandished with ease. The aged ploughman 
in Lucretius envies the fortune of his forefathers, who 
gained a comfortable livelihood from a scanty patch of 
ground ; and the sorrowful vineplanter wearies Heaven 
with his complaints, perceiving not (says the poet) that 
all things little by little are wasting away by length of 
days and faring towards the grave. Evermore rises the 
same wail over the poverty of present times, and ever- 
more we look back wistfully to the past. As one turns 
the pages of Herrick's " Hesperides," how grey and 
colourless appears the England of to-day ! We have 
become so serious, so demure, so respectable ; we are 
resolved that the game of life is a desperately earnest 
business ; we read Mr. Shorthouse. " I sing of May- 
poles, hock-carts, wassails, wakes ! " wrote Herrick. 
Alack, nous avons change tout cela. Instead of dancing 




with Julia round a May-pole, he would be expected to 
attend a May-meeting at Exeter Hall. Flush- cheeked, 
curly-haired Robin Herrick at a May-meeting ! After 
such an experience he would never have called Devon- 
shire " dull." Country life, as depicted in the " Hes- 
perides," appears to have been one perpetual round of 
merry-making. Morris dances, Whitsun ale, twelfth-tide 
kings and queens, stool-ball, shearing-feasts, mummeries, 
wassailings, shrovings, and the like, are the subjects of 
the poet's song. It is hard, very hard, in this last 
quarter of the nineteenth century to realise the life that 
Herrick led. Perhaps on a closer view much of the 
brightness of the vision would fade away ; but still we 
can never banish the feeling that something has been 
lost of the old delight in life, the old buoyancy and fresh- 
ness that possessed men's hearts before the Puritans 
gained the mastery. 

Such reflections forcibly suggest themselves as Christ- 
mastide draws near. We still twine the holly and we 
still eat mince-pies. In one or two colleges the boar's 
head is still served up with mustard. But who now-a- 
days sets a swan on the Christmas board, or who a 
sturgeon ? Where will you find " the carcasses of three 
fat wethers bruised for gravy to make sauce for a single 
peacock " ? ^ That delightful writer, Nicholas Breton, 
in his "Fantasticks " (1626), brings vividly home to us 
the Christmas festivities of the early seventeenth cen- 
tury : — " It is now Christmas, and not a cup of drink 

Massinger's " City Madam," ii. i. (Credat Judaeus!) 


must pass without a carol ; the beasts, fowl, and fish 
come to a general execution, and the corn is ground to 
dust for the bakehouse and the pastry : cards and dice 
purge many a purse, and the youth show their agility in 
shoeing of the wild mare : now, good cheer, and wel- 
come, and God be with you, and I thank you : — and 
against the New Year provide for the presents : — the Lord 
of Misrule is no mean man for his time, and the guests 
of the high table must lack no wine : the lusty bloods 
must look about them like men, and piping and dancing 
puts away much melancholy : stolen venison is sweet, 
and a fat coney is worth money : pit-falls are now set 
for small birds, and a woodcock hangs himself in a gin : 
a good fire heats all the house, and a full alms -basket 
makes the beggar's prayers : — the maskers and the mum- 
mers make the merry sport, but if they lose their money 
their drum goes dead : swearers and swaggerers are 
sent away to the ale-house, and unruly wenches go in 
danger of judgment : musicians now make their instru- 
ments speak out, and a good song is worth the hearing. 
In sum it is a holy time, a duty in Christians for the 
remembrance of Christ and custom among friends for 
the maintenance of good fellowship. In brief I thus 
conclude it : I hold it a memory of the Heaven's love 
and the world's peace, the mirth of the honest, and the 
meeting of the friendly. Farewell." It is pleasant by 
the fireside to linger over such a description as that ; to 
try to reahse the nut-brown mirth that reigned at Christ- 
mastide three centuries ago. Sir John Reresby has left 



us an interesting account of how he used to observe Christ- 
mas. " I returned," he writes ^ in 1684, " to Thrybergh, 
by God's mercy, in safety, to keep Christmas amongst 
my neighbours and tenants. I had more company this 
Christmas than heretofore. The four first days of the 
new year all my tenants of Thrybergh, Brinsford, Denby, 
Mexborough, Hooton Roberts, and Rotherham dined with 
me ; the rest of the time some four-score of gentlemen and 
yeomen with their wives were invited, besides some that 
came from York; so that all the beds in the house and most 
in the town were taken up. There were seldom less than 
four-score, counting all sorts of people, that dined in the 
house every day, and some days many more. On New 
Year's Day chiefly there dined above three hundred, so 
that whole sheep were roasted and served up to feed 
them. For music I had four violins, besides bagpipes, 
drums, and trumpets." Nobody could grudge broad 
acres to a landowner who so well understood hospitality. 
On another occasion,^ in 1682, the festivities were on 
a less lavish scale. There assembled on Christmas Eve 
nineteen of the poorer tenants from Denby and Hooton ; 
on Christmas Day twenty-six of the poorer tenants from 
Thrybergh, Brinsford, and Mexborough ; on St. Stephen's 
Day farmers and better sort of tenants to the number 
of fifty-four ; on St. John's Day forty-five of the chief 
tenants ; on the 30th of December eighteen gentlemen 
of the neighbourhood with their wives ; on the i st of 
January sixteen gentlemen ; on the 4th twelve of the 

1 Memoirs of Sir John Reresby (Camden Society), p. 310. 

2 Ibid., pp. 266-7. 

«^^^^^^>;! g!i^iiaa^ja^^ 

PREFACE. xvii 

neighbouring clergymen ; and on the 6th seven gentle- 
men and tradesmen. Among the guests who lay at the 
house were " Mr. Rigden, merchant of York, and his 
I wife, a handsome womatt" and "Mr. Belton, an ingeni- 
ous clergyman, but too much a good fellow." How 
gentle is the censure conveyed in the words " too much 
\\ a good fellow ! " Sir John adds : " The expense of 
l| liquor, both of wine and others, was considerable, as 
of other provisions, and my friends appeared well satis- 
fied." So they ought to have been. But all landlords 
were not like Sir John Reresby, and he tells us himself 
that few of the gentry in his part of the country observed 
the festival. Complaints of niggardly housekeeping 
were constantly being made. In the " Roxburghe Col- 
lection" is a very doleful ballad entitled "Christmas' 
Lamentation for the loss of his acquaintance, showing 
how he is forced to leave the country and come to 
London." Hear how it begins : — 


Christmas is my name ; far have I gone, 
Have I gone, have I gone, have I gone, 

"Without regard ; 
Whereas great men by flocks there be flown, 
There be flown, there be flown, there be flown, 

To London ward ; 
Where they in pomp and pleasure do waste 
That which Christmas was wonted to feast, 

Welladay ! 
Houses where music was wont for to ring, 
Nothing but bats and howlets do sing, 

Welladay, welladay, welladay ! 

Where should I stay? 




Christmas beef and bread is turned to stones, &c. 

And silken rags ; 
And lady Money sleeps, and makes moans, &c. 

In misers' bags. 
Houses where pleasure once did abound. 
Nought but a dog and a shepherd is found, 

Welladay ! 
Places where Christmas revels did keep, 
Is now become habitations for sheep, 

Welladay ! " 

Poor Robin's Almanac harps perpetually on the same 
theme. Against such curmudgeons was directed the 
old carol of Dives and Lazarus^ which must have been 
sung at many a rich churl's door to the gratification of 
a knot of shivering wretches. I give it from an old 
broadside ^ in the Bodleian. 

** As it fell out upon a day 
Rich Dives made a feast. 
And he invited all his friends 
And gentry of the best. 

Then Lazarus laid him down and down, 

E'en down at Dives' door ; 
Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, 

Bestow upon the poor. 

Thou art none of my brother, Lazarus, 
That lies begging at the door. 

No meat nor drink will I give to thee, 
Nor bestow upon the poor. 

1 Printed in the last century by T. Bloomer, 53 Edgbaston 
Street, Birmingham. 



Then Lazarus laid him down and down, 

E'en down at Dives' wall; 
Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, 

Or with hunger starve I shall. 

Thou art none of my brother, Lazarus, 
That lies begging at my wall ; 

For neither meat nor drink will I give, 
But with hunger starve you shall. 

Then Lazarus laid him down and down 

E'en down at Dives' gate ; 
Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, 

For Jesus Christ His sake. 

Thou art none of my brother, Lazarus, 
That lies begging at my gate ; 

No meat nor drink will I give to thee 
For Jesus Christ His sake. 

Then Dives sent out his merry men, 
To whip poor Lazarus away, 

They had no power to strike one stroke, 
But flung their whips away. 

Then Dives sent out his hungry dogs 

To bite him as he lay ; 
They had no power to bite at all, 

But licked his sores away. 

As it fell out upon a day. 

Poor Lazarus sickened and died ; 
There came two angels out of heaven, 

His soul therein to guide. 


Rise up, rise up, brother Lazarus, 

And go along with me, 
For you've a place prepared in heaven 

Upon an angel's knee.^ 

As it fell out upon a day. 

Rich Dives sickened and died ; 
There came two serpents out of hell, 

His soul therein to guide. 

Rise up, rise up, brother Dives, 

And go along with me ; 
There is prepared a place in hell 

From which thou ne'er can flee. 

Then Dives looked up with his eyes. 

And saw poor Lazarus blest ; 
Give a drop of water, brother Lazarus, 

To quench my burning thirst. 

O had I as many years to abide. 

As there are blades of grass. 
Then there would be an end, but now 

Hell's pains will never pass. 

O was I now but alive again, 

The space of one half hour ; 
O that I'd made my peace secure, 

Then the devil should have no power ! " 

Churls of the class of Dives will always exist, but one 
likes to think that there are fewer of them now than 
formerly. Truly, there is every need to-day for sympathy 
and charity towards the poor and the afflicted. 

^ Another copy reads : — 

'* In angels' company." 



Very pleasant is the obsolete practice of combining 
devotion and good fellowship. Fancy a modern 
rhymester hailing the arrival of Christmas after this 
style ! — 

*' Now that the time is come wherein 
Our Saviour Christ was born, 
The larders full of beef and pork, 
The garners filled with corn," &c. 

Finding these verses in Poor Robin^s Almanac for 1700, 
we are charmed by their quaint sincerity. Ah that 
homely piety and simple-hearted mirth might be re- 
vived ! These are dull times. Where are the mummers 
and the maskers ? Where the Lord of Misrule and the 
Twelfth-tide kings and queens ? What a poor business 
is a country-fair to-day ! Smock-races,^ hot-hasty- 
pudding contests, and grinning through a horse-collar 
have been abolished. Merry-go-rounds and shooting- 
galleries are well-nigh the only attractions. But we 
must remember that, with many innocent diversions, 
not a few barbarous sports have been swept away. 
Cock-fighting still has its supporters in the Black 
Country, but it is to be hoped that nobody is anxious 
to revive cock-throwing or goose-riding. In remote 
districts many good old customs still linger. The 
wassailers still sing their cheery song, and the Christmas 
play, with its odd medley of characters, St. George, 

'h ^ So called because the successful girl was presented with a 

holland smock. 



the Turk, the Doctor, Beelzebub ^ (sometimes with the 
addition of Oliver Cromwell and the Duke of Welling- 
ton), still delights bucolic audiences. Hone, wTiting more 
than half a century ago, anticipated that the practice 
of singing Christmas carols would be abolished in the 
course of a few years. His lugubrious prophecy has 
happily not been fulfilled. " As I sat on a sunny bank," 
** I saw three ships come sailing in," " God rest you, 
merry gentlemen," " Remember, O thou man," " The first 
Nowell the Angel did say," and others, are still sung year 
after year. But the more fantastic carols seem to be losing 
ground. " Cherry-tree carol," the finest of all carols, 
has been shorn of half its beauty by modem prudishness. 
Every girl and boy should be taught the lovely stanzas 
beginning, "As Joseph was a-walking " (p. 31). Never 
were Christ's praises chanted in sweeter, clearer tones. 
At the present day people are too refined (or should we 
say — stolid ? ) to appreciate such strange pieces of com- 
position as " Holy Well," " The moon shines bright," 
and "The Carnal and the Crane." In the most 
characteristic carols there is a pathetic wistful melody, 
as though the singer were yearning to give utterance to 
the thoughts that crowd his souL Sometimes, as in the 
carol beginning " I sing of a maiden " (p. 4), the accents 
ring clear and sweet, without a flaw. At other times 

Here come I, Beelzebub ; 
Under my arm I carry a club. 
Under my chin I carry a pan, 
Don't I look a nice young man ? 





* O Mother, take you John Evangelist 

All for to be your son, 
And he will comfort you sometimes 
Mother, as I have done.* 

* O come thou, John Evangelist, 

Thou'rt welcome unto me. 
But more welcome my own dear Son 
Whom I nursed on my knee.' 

Then he laid his head on his right shoulder, 
Seeing death it struck him nigh, — 

* The holy Mother be with your soul, 

I die. Mother dear, I die.' 

O the rose, the gentle rose, 

And the fennel that grows so green, 
God give us grace in every place 

To pray for our king and queen. 

Furthermore for our enemies all 

Our prayers they should be strong : 
Amen, good Lord ; your charity 

Is the ending of my song." 

Sung on the crisp frosty road beneath the flying moon, 
that pathetic and fantastic strain might well stir the 
hearers' hearts with far-off wonder and awe. But for 
some time past it has been a growing practice to sing 
carols in churches instead of in the open air. Only the 
less poetical carols are in use, and the element of 
picturesqueness is fast vanishing. One of the most 
popular carols is the piece beginning " Good King 
Wenceslas looked out," written by the Rev. Dr. Neale. 
The language is poor and commonplace to the last 



■ <^r^te^3BSS?;5^j^ Pfe^y;^^ 


Much has been written about the history of Christmas 
Carols, and I have no intention in this brief preface of 
minutely traversing the well-trodden ground. In Eng- 
land the practice of carol-singing appears to have first 
become widely spread in the 15 th century. Many of 
the pieces collected from MSS. by the labour of Ritson, 
Wright, and Sandys belong to this early date. We are 
fortunate in possessing an ancient MS. copy of the 
Carol of SI. Stephen (p. 33). Doubtless (in a somewhat 
altered shape) The Carnal and the Crane^ The Holy 
Well J and The Seven Virgins belong to the 15 th cen- 
tury ; but no early copies of these pieces, whether in 
print or MS., are known to exist. The earliest printed 
collection was issued by Wynkyn de Worde in 152 1. 
Only a fragment of it has descended ; and in this frag- 
ment Hearne the antiquary found the original version 
[f^ of the famous Boar's Head Carol. A later collection, 
printed by Richard Kele, was issued about 1550, 
Specimens from this unique volume were printed in 
" Bibliographical Miscellanies," 1 8 1 3, whence I have 
drawn the pieces beginning, " In Bethlehem that noble 
place" (p. 10). and "Lords and Ladies all by dene" 
(p. 12). Other books of so-called Christmas Carols were 
licensed for printing in the latter part of the 1 6th century ; 
but the pieces in these collections appear to have been 
hymns rather than carols. Early in the next century we 
find a genuine example of a carol, with music, (" Re- 
member, O thou man ") in Ravenscroft's " Melismata," 
161 1. A few years afterwards an attempt to supplant 

xxvi PREFACE. 

the old carols was made by William Slatyer in " Cer- 
taine of David's Psalmes intended for Christmas Carols." 
At a somewhat later date a few carols, though not of the 
best kind, are found among the Roxburghe Ballads. In 
the second half of the last centry T. Bloomer, a Birming- 
ham printer, did good service by printing in broadside 
form all the traditional carols he could find. Jemmy 
Catnach, of Great Monmouth Street, Seven Dials, in the 
second quarter of the present century, was zealous in 
diffusing the knowledge of Christmas Carols. As the 
season comes round hawkers still call at villagers' doors 
with wretchedly-printed slips ; but only a few of the old 
traditional carols continue to circulate. 

Alongside of the sacred carols sung in the open air, 
flourished the jovial carols sung at Christmas feasts. A 
small black-letter collection of these pieces was published 
in 1642 ; another appeared in 1661 ; a small undated 
collection belongs probably to the same time ; a fourth 
is dated 1688. These tracts, belonging to the class of 
books that are most easily thumbed out of existence, are 
of the rarest possible occurrence. The library of the 
British Museum does not possess a copy of any of them ; 
but luckily they are all in the Bodleian, bound together 
in a small duodecimo volume which once belonged to that 
"facete" (to use the term he applies to Democritus 
Junior) and ingenious scholar, Antony- k- Wood, the 
never-to-be-forgotten author of " Athense Oxonienses." 
In the Long Vacation I spent some delightful hours in 
making copious extracts from these curious tracts, 

PREFACE. xxvii 

which few previous collectors appear to have examined. 
It may be that the reader will not find the same 
pleasure in these old rustic songs as I found. For in 
truth I was in the mood to enjoy everything. Return- 
I ing after long absence to Oxford, I thought the old spires 
I and domes had never looked so beautiful before. The 
^1 studious hush of the Bodleian was charming after the 
noise of London streets. Before me lay the MS. cata- 
logue, in a 17th-century hand, of the books which 
Robert Burton bequeathed to the library he loved so 
well ; and as with reverence I turned the pages, the 
air seemed filling with the ghosts of grand old Oxford 
scholars, men who lived before the days of competitive 
examinations and pretentious sciolism ; men who loved 
learning for its own sake, and whose whole life passed 
as a summer's day. Then the walk in the mellow 
evening-air with an old fellow student to Foxcomb Hill, 
and the draught of foaming ale in the inn parlour where 
I had spent so many jovial hours ! But I return 
to Antony-k- Wood's collection of carols. The reader 
will perceive that they are genuine specimens of the 
songs that were sung in farm-houses by shepherds and 
ploughmen at Christmas feasts in the 17 th century. 
Very touching is the gratitude of the poor fellows for 
being allowed the run of their teeth : — 

•' Of delicates so dainty 
I see now here is plenty, 
Upon this table ready here prepared ; 
Then let us now give thanks to those 


That all things friendly thus bestows, 
Esteeming not this world that is so hard. 

For of the same my master 

Hath made me here a taster ; 

The Lord above requite him for the same ! 

And so to all within this house 

I will drink a full carouse, 

With leave of my good master and my dame. 

And the Lord be praised 

My stomach is well eased, 

My bones at quiet may go take their rest ; 

Good fortune surely followed me 

To bring me thus so luckily 

To eat and drink so freely of the best." 

Their stomachs were sharp-set, and we may be sure 
they played a nimble knife and fork throughout the 
whole twelve days. Christmas comes but once a year, 
so they made the best of their time and lustily trolled 
the nut-brown bowl in honour of St. Stephen and St. 
John. One of the most interesting pieces is the New 
Year's Carol (p. 205), sung by the shepherd, who comes 
bringing mellow pippins as presents for his master's 
children, points ^ for the farm-labourers, and pins for the 
maids. The verses bidding Farewell to Christmas are 
lugubrious indeed ; but the honest fellows doubtless 
found consolation in the thought that they would feast 
again next year. 

^ Tagged laces that held up the breeches. 


Those who spent their Christmas at their own fireside 
^ had also carols, but of a soberer sort. The following 
verses, which evidently cannot boast of a high antiquity, 
I heard in Berkshire : — 

When I'm at school my father 
Is working on the farm, 

The harvest he must gather 
To keep us all from harm. 

My brother is at sea, 

My sister's gone from home, 
She must in service be 

Till merry Christmas come. 

We all shall meet together 
On merry Christmas Eve ; 

We reck not wind or weather 
While we our Christmas keep. 

All round the rodded (?) earth 
Each one might chance to say, 

Since last we met in mirth 
'Twas merry Christmas Day." 

Rather a doleful ditty that ; no mention of goose or 
mince-pies. At the same time I took down the follow- 
ing slight but pretty rhymes : — 

Sing we all merrily, 
Christmas is here. 

The day that we love best 
Of days in the year. 


Bring forth the holly, 

The box and the bay, 
Deck out our cottage 

For glad Christmas Day. 

Sing we all merrily, 

Draw round the fire, 
Sister and brother. 

Grandson and sire." 

It would be easy to write a long dissertation about 
Christmas ceremonies, for the materials are all to our 
hand. But as I have no desire to make a parade of 
cheap learning, I refer the reader to that elaborate and 
easy accessible work, Brand's " Popular Antiquities." 
For one who has neither the learning of Brand nor the 
light touch of Leigh Hunt, it would be impertinent to 
write at length on so trite a theme. The present 
volume lays little claim to research. It has been put 
together in idle moments, and is intended rather for the 
general reader than for scholars. The orthography of 
the older pieces has been modernised, but I have en- 
deavoured in all cases to give, as far as possible, a 
correct text. It may perhaps be thought that a few more 
old carols should have been included in the First Part. 
I omitted without hesitation such pieces as "When 
Jesus Christ was twelve years old " (popular though it 
is), "The Lord at first had Adam made," "When 
Caesar Augustus had rais'd a taxation," " When old 
father Jacob was ready to die," &c. ; but I parted re- 
luctantly from " Blessed be that maid Mary," " Mary 

PREFACE. xxxi 

mother, meek and mild," " Marvel not, Joseph, on Mary 
mild," and others. Some readers may be vexed at finding 
in the Second Part so well-known a poem as Milton's 
"Ode on the Nativity." I have no particular affec- 
tion for the poem as a whole, though I greatly admire 
certain stanzas, and am not blind to the marvellous 
metrical skill displayed throughout. With the sacred 
text of Milton I dared not tamper. I felt that I must 
print the Ode in its integrity or not at all ; and I chose 
the first course. In regard to Crashaw, whose tran- 
scendent merits I should be the last to dispute, I had 
less hesitation. His Hymn of the Nativity I give entire, 
but of the Hymn for the Epiphany I quote only the 
opening fines, for the latter part abounds with the most 
violent conceits. At the end of the volume I have added 
a few notes. There is a striking poem by Frederick 
Tennyson, "The Holy Tide," which I should like to 
have included ; but it is far too long. With two stanzas 
from it I take leave of the reader : — 

The days are sad, it is the Holytide : 

The Wintermorn is short, the Night is long ; 
So let the lifeless Hours be glorified 

With deathless thoughts, and echoed in sweet song : 
And through the sunset of this purple cup 

They will resume the roses of their prime, 
And the old Dead will hear us and wake up, 

Pass with dim smiles and make our hearts sublime ! 

The days are sad, it is the Holytide ; 
Be dusky mistletoes and hollies strown, 


Sharp as the spear that pierced his sacred side, 
Red as the drops upon his thorny crown ; 

No haggard Passion and no lawless Mirth 

Fright off the sombre Muse, — tell sweet old tales, 

Sing songs as we sit bending o'er the hearth, 
Till the lamp flickers, and the memory fails." 


CHRISTMAS Chants and Carols. 

From the Coventry Mysteries. 

3n cvcv's place 3 sball tell this. 

T N every place I shall tell this, 

Of a clean maid that God is born, 
And in our likeness God now clad is, 

Mankind to save that was forlorn ; 
His mother a maid as she was beforn, 

Not foul-polluted as other women be, 
But fair and fresh as rose on thorn, 

Lily-white, clean with pure virginity. 




Printed in Ritson's Ancient Songs, 
Sandys' Carols, etc. (from Sloane 
MS., 2593, temp. Henry VI.) 

Melcome ISule. 

Welcome Yule, thou merry man, 
In worship of this holy day. 

VyELCOME be thou, heaven-king, 
Welcome born in one morning, 
Welcome for whom we shall sing, 
Welcome Yule. 

Welcome be ye, Stephen and John, 
Welcome Innocents every one. 
Welcome Thomas Martyr one. 
Welcome Yule. 

Welcome be ye, good New Year, 
Welcome Twelfth Day, both in fere,^ 
Welcome saintes lef ^ and dear. 
Welcome Yule. 

In fere =: in company. 

2 Lef= loved. 


Welcome be ye, Candlemas, 
Welcome be ye, Queen of Bliss, 
Welcome both to more and less, 
Welcome Yule. 

Welcome be ye that are here. 
Welcome all and make good cheer ; 
Welcome all, another year, 
Welcome Yule. 


From Wright's Songs and Carols, 
(Warton Society. A collection 
printed from Sloane MS. 2593, 
temp. Henry VI.) 

5 Sing of a /IDatt)en» 

T SING of a maiden 

That is makeless ; ^ 
King of all kings 

To her son she ches ; ^ 
He came also ^ still 

There his mother was, 
As dew in April 

That falleth on the grass. 
He came also still 

To his mother's bower, 
As dew in April 

That falleth on the flower. 
He came also still 

There his mother lay, 


As dew in April 

That falleth on the spray. 
Mother and maiden 

Was never none but she ; 
Well may such a lady 

God's mother be. 


From Harleian MS. 5396 {date circ. 
1500). Printed in Sandys' Christ- 
mas Carols, and other collections. 

5n Bjcelsts Gloria* 

A ^ rHEN Christ was born of Mary free 

In Bethlehem in that fair citie, 
Angels sungen with mirth and glee, 
/n Excelsis Gloria I 

Herdsmen beheld these angels bright 
To them appeared with great light, 
And said, God's son is born this night, 
In Excelsis Gloria I 

This King is comen to save kind 
[Even] in Scripture as we find, 
[Therejfore this song have we in mind, 
In Excelsis Gloria I 

[Then, dear] Lord, for thy great grace 
[Grant us] in bliss to see thy face. 
Where we may sing to thee solace. 
In Excelsis Gloria! 


Printed in Sandys' Christmas Carols, 
and other collections. 

TTbe iftrst naowell tbe Hn^el Mb sa^» 

T^HE first Nowell the Angel did say 

Was to three poor Shepherds in the fields as 
they lay ; 
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep 
In a cold winter's night that was so deep. 
Nowelly Nowell^ Nowell^ Nowell, 
Born is the King of Israel. 

They looked up and saw a Star 
Shining in the East beyond them far ; 
And to the earth it gave great light, 
And so it continued both day and night. 

Nowell, etc. 

And by the light of that same Star 
Three Wise Men came from country far ; 
To seek for a King was their intent, 
And to follow the Star wherever it went 

Nowell, etc. 


The Star drew nigh to the North- West, 
O'er Bethlehem it took its rest, 
And there it did both stop and stay 
Right over the place where Jesus lay. 

JVowe/lj etc. 

Then did they know assuredly 
Within that house the King did lie : 
One entered in then for to see, 
And found the Babe in poverty. 

Nowell^ etc. 

Then enter'd in those Wise Men three 
Most reverently upon their knee, 
And offer'd there in his presence 
Both gold, and myrrh, and frankincense. 

Nowell^ etc. 

Between an ox-stall and an ass 
This Child truly there, born he was ; 
For want of clothing they did him lay 
All in the manger among the hay. 

Nowell, etc. 


Then let us all with one accord 
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord, 
That hath made heaven and earth of nought, 
And with his blood mankind hath bought. 

JVowe/Iy etc. 

If we in our time shall do well, 
We shall be free from death and hell j 
For God hath prepared for us all 
A resting-place in general. 

NowelL etc. 


? ^^|t;;^^ja ! ai^i^ 



This and the next Carol are from Christ- 
mas Carolles newely imprinted 
{circ. 1550), of which only a frag- 
ment has come down. Our text is 
taken from Bibliographical Miscel- 
lanies (Oxford, 1813). 

5n aBetblebem tbat noble iplace* 

T N Bethlehem that noble place, 
As by prophecy said it was, 

Of the Virgin Mary full of grace, 

Salvator mundi natus est. 

Be we merry in this feast. 
In quo salvator natus est. 

On Christmas night an angel it told 
To the shepherds, keeping their fold, 
That into Bethlehem with beasts wold 
Salvator mundi natus est. 

Be we merry, etc. 

The shepherdes were compassed right. 
About them was a great light ; 
Dread ye nought, said the angel bright, 
Salvator mundi natus est. 

Be we merry, etc. 



" Dread ye nought," said the Angel bright, 
" Salvator miindi natus est." 


Behold to you we bring great joy ; 
For why ? Jesus is born this day ; 
To us, of Mary, that mild may, 
Salvator mundi natus est. 

Be we merry ^ etc. 

And thus in faith find it ye shall, 
Lying poorly in an ox-stall. 
The shepherds then lauded God all, 
Quia Salvator mundi natus est. 

Be we merry ^ etc. 




H new Carol of out Xat>i^. 

T ORDS and ladies all by dene ^ 

For your goodness and honour, 
I will you sing all of a queen ; 
Of all women she is the flower. 

Nowell^ Noweil, Nowell, Nowell, 
This said the angel Gabriel. 

Of Jesse there sprang a wight, 
Isay said by prophecy, 
Of whom shall come a man of might, 
From death to life he will us buy. 

Nowelly etc. 

There came an angel bright of face. 
Flying from heaven with full great light, 
And said. Hail ! Mary, full of grace, 
For thou shalt bear a man of might. 

Now ell, etc. 

1 " All by dene " = forthwith. 

j j,^Bfe!fJffi!aTS&S^ 




Astonied was that lady free, 
And had marvell of that greeting ; 
Angel, she said, how may that be, 
For never of man I had knowing ? 

Nbwe//f etc. 

Dread thou nothing, Mary mild, 
Thou art fulfilled with great virtue. 
Thou shalt conceive and bear a child 
That shall be nambd sweet Jesu. 

Nowellj etc. 

She kneeled down upon her knee ; 
As thou hast said, so may it be, 
With heart, thought and mild cheer, 
God's hand-maid I am here. 

Nowell^ etc. 

Then began her womb to spring, 
She went with child without man, 
He that is lord over all thing. 
His flesh and blood of her had than.^ 

Nowelly etc. 

1 Then. 



Of her was born our heaven-king, 
And she a maid never the less ; 
Therefore be merry and let us sing, 
For this new lord of Christmas. 

JVowe/lj JVowel/j etc. 




From Songs and Carols, now first 
printed from a manuscript of the 
fifteenth century; Edited by Thomas 
Wright, 1847. (Percy Society Pub- 


Ube mtQin ant) Cbilt). 

nPHIS endris night ^ 
I saw a sight, 

A star as bright as day ; 
And ever among 
A maiden sung, 

LuUay, by by, luUay. 

This lovely lady sat and sang, and to her child [she] 

said — 
" My son, my brother, my father dear, why liest thou 
thus in hayd ? 

My sweet bird,^ 
Thus it is betide 

Though thou be king veray ; 
But, nevertheless, 
I will not cease 

To sing, by by, luUay." 

1 " Endris night " = last night. 

2 Often used as a term of endearment. — In the former line 
" hayd " = hay. 


The child then spake j in his talking he to his mother 

said — 
" I bekid ^ am king, in crib though I be laid ; 
For angels bright 
Down to me light, 

Thou knowest it is no nay, 
And of that sight 
Thou mayest be light 

To sing, by by, luUay." 

" Now, sweet Son, since thou art king, why art thou 

laid in stall ? 
Why not thou ordain thy bedding in some great king's 

Methinketh it is right 
That king or knight 

Should be in good array ; 
And them among 
It were no wrong 

To sing, by by, luUay." 

" Mary, mother, I am thy child, though I be laid in 

Lords and dukes shall worship me and so shall kingbs 


i.e. it happens that I am king. 


Ye shall well see 
That kinges three 

Shall come on the twelfth day ; 
For this behest 
Give me thy breast, 

And sing, by by, luUay." 

"Now tell me, sweet Son, I thee pray, thou art my 

love and dear. 
How should I keep thee to thy pay ^ and make thee 
glad of cheer ? 

For all thy will 
I would fulfil 

Thou weet'st ^ full well in fay. 
And for all this 
I will thee kiss, 

And sing, by by, luUay." 

" My dear mother, when time it be, take thou me up 

And set me upon thy knee and handle me full soft. 
And in thy arm 
Thou wilt me warm. 

And keep [me] night and day ; 

^ Content. 

2 Knowest. 

l <^^,^i=i!P^y^?i=£^p:>==P^^ 



If I weep 

And may not sleep 

Thou sing, by by, luUay.' 

" Now, sweet Son, since it is so, all things are at thy 



I pray thee grant to me a boon if it be right and skill,^ j 
That child or man. 
That will or can, 

Be merry upon my day ; 
To bliss them bring, 
And I shall sing, 

LuUay, by by, lullay." 

^ Fitting, reasonable. 

;^j gp?;^?r^i?rr;5=!y^f;^^^ 



From Wright's Songs and Carols 
{Percy Society). 

Hbout tbe jflelt) tbe^ ptpe^ full ri^bt 

Tyr/e, tyrle, so merrily the shepherds began to blow. 

A BOUT the field they piped full right, 
Even about the midst of the night \ 
Adown from heaven they saw come a light. 

Tyrhy iyrle. 

Of angels there came a company 
With merry songs and melody. 
The shepherds anon gan them espy. 

Tyrle, tyrle. 

Gloria in excelsis the angels sung, 
And said who [how ?] peace was present among 
To every man that to the faith would long. 

Tyrle^ tyrle. 

The shepherds hied them to Bethlehem 
To see that blessed sun's beam ; 
And there they found that glorious stream. 

Tyrle^ tyrle. 



Now pray we to that meek child, 
And to his mother that is so mild, 
The which was never defiled. 

Tyr/e^ tyrle. 

That we may come unto his bliss, 
Where joy shall never miss ; 
That we may sing in Paradise. 

Tyrle, tyrle, 

I pray you all that be here 

For to sing and make good cheer, 

In the worship of God this year. 

Tyrle, tyrle. 

X^f^i^Sp?!r^ii^_1 ^Sfc^^?^^ 


Printed in Sandys' Christmas Carols 
from Add. MS. 5165 {ancient 
songs temp. Henry VII. and VIII.) 

Ubis BnMtes niQbt 5 saw a Slobt 

'i A H, my dear Son, said Mary, ah, my dear, 

** '^ Kiss thy mother, Jesu, with a laughing cheer. 

This endnes ^ night I saw a sight 

All in my sleep, 
Mary, that may, she sang luUay 

And sore did weep ; 
To keep she sought full fast about 

Her Son from cold. 
Joseph said, Wife, my joy, my life, 

Say what ye would. 
Nothing, my spouse, is in this house 

Unto my pay ; ^ 
My Son a king, that made all thing, 

Lieth in hay. 

Ah, my dear Son ! &c. 

^ Last. 

=* Content. 


O they sailed into Bethlehem 

On Christmas day, on Christmas day ; 

O they sailed into Bethlehem 

On Christmas day in the morning. 

And all the bells on earth shall ring 
On Christmas day, on Christmas day ; 

And all the bells on earth shall ring 
On Christmas day in the morning. 

And all the angels in heaven shall sing 
On Christmas day, on Christmas day ; 

And all the angels in heaven shall sing 
On Christmas day in the morning. 

And all the souls on earth shall sing 
On Christmas day, on Christmas day ; 

And all the souls on earth shall sing 
On Christmas day in the morning. 

Then let us all rejoice amain 

On Christmas day, on Christmas day ; 

Then let us all rejoice amain 

On Christmas day in the morning. 



A more modern, version of the preceding 
Carol. Communicated by A. A. to 
"Notes and Queries," 2d series, hi. 
7. It used to be s^ing in Mid-Kent. 

H6 5 sat unt)et a Sycamore Uree. 

A S I sat under a sycamore tree, a sycamore tree, a 

sycamore tree, 
I looked me out upon the sea, 

A Christmas day in the morning. 

I saw three ships a- sailing there, a-sailing there, a-sail- 

ing there, 
The Virgin Mary and Christ they bare, 
A Christmas day in the morning. 

He did whistle, and she did sing, she did sing, she did 

And all the bells on earth did ring, 

A Christmas day in the morning. 

And now we hope to taste your cheer, taste your cheer, 

taste your cheer, 
And wish you all a happy new year, 

A Christmas day in the morning. 

From Byrd's Psalme^, Sonets, etc., 1588. 

/IDI? sweet little Babp, wbat meanest 
tbou to crp? 

A /r Y sweet little baby, what meanest thou to cry ? | 
Be still, my blessed babe, though cause thou | 
hast to mourn, 
Whose blood most innocent to shed the cruel king hath 

sworn j 
And lo, alas ! behold what slaughter he doth make. 
Shedding the blood of infants all, sweet Saviour, for )| 

thy sake. <;■ 

A King, a King is born, they say, which King this (i 

king would kill : > 

O woe and woeful heavy day when wretches have their 


Lulla, la lulla, lulla lullaby. 

Three kings this King of kings to see are come from 


To each unknown, with offerings great, by guiding of g 

a star ; 

^^^^RJ^r^fei^^^t^Jiir^ t^^ 



And shepherds heard the song, which angels bright 

did sing, 
Giving all glory unto God for coming of this King, 
Which must be made away — King Herod would him 

kill ; 
O woe and woeful heavy day when wretches have their 


Lulla, &C. 

Lo, lo, my little babe, be still, lament no more ; 
From fury thou shalt step aside, help have we still in 

store : 
We heavenly warning have some other soil to seek ; 
From death must fly the Lord of life, as lamb both 

mild and meek : 
Thus must my babe obey the king that would him 

O woe and woeful heavy day when wretches have their 

will ! 

Lulla, &c. 

But thou shalt live and reign, as sibyls hath foresaid. 
As all the prophets prophecy, whose mother, yet a 


And perfect virgin pure, with her breasts shall up- ^H 

Both God and man that all hath made, the son of 

heavenly seed : ^ 

Whom caitives none can tray, whom tyrants none can 

O joy and joyful happy day wheti wretches want their S 

will ! ^ 

Lulla, &c. 



Knovm as Cherry Tree Carol. Con- 
cerning the text see notes. 

Josepb was an ©lb /iDan^ 

JOSEPH was an old man, 
And an old man was he, 
When he wedded Mary 
In the land of Galilee. 

Joseph and Mary walked 
Through an orchard good, 

Where was cherries and berries 
So red as any blood. 

Joseph and Mary walked 
Through an orchard green, 

Where was berries and cherries 
As thick as might be seen. 

O then bespoke Mary, 
So meek and so mild, 

Pluck me one cherry, Joseph, 
For I am with child. 



O then bespoke Joseph, 
With words most unkind, 

Let him pluck thee a cherry 
That brought thee with child. 

O then bespoke the babe 
Within his mother's womb — 

Bow down then the tallest tree 
For my mother to have some. 

Then bowed down the highest tree 
Unto his mother's hand : 

Then she cried, See, Joseph, 
I have cherries at command. 

O then bespake Joseph, — 
I have done Mary wrong ; 

But cheer up, my dearest. 
And be not cast down. 

O eat your cherries, Mary, 
O eat your cherries now, 

O eat your cherries, Mary, 
That grow upon the bough. 

l ^H'feiPgigM^fpfc^^ 



Then Mary plucked a cherry 
As red as the blood ; 

Then Mary went home 
With her heavy load. 


As Joseph was a-walking 
He heard an angel sing : — 

" This night shall be born 
Our Heavenly King ; 

" He neither shall be born 
In housen nor in hall, 

Nor in the place of Paradise, 
But in an ox's stall ; 

" He neither shall be clothed 
In purple nor in pall. 

But all in fair linen 
As were babies all. 

" He neither shall be rocked 
In silver nor in gold, 

But in a wooden cradle 
That rocks on the mould. 



" He neither shall be christened 

In white wine nor red, 
But with fair spring water 

With which we were christened." 


Then Mary took her young son 
And set him on her knee : 

I pray thee now, dear child, 
Tell how this world shall be. 

O I shall be as dead, mother, 
As the stones in the wall ; 

O the stones in the streets, mother. 
Shall mourn for me all. 

Upon Easter-day, mother, 

My uprising shall be ; 
O the sun and the moon, mother, 

Shall both rise with me. 


From Sloane MS. 2593. The MS. was f 
printed in 1856 by Thomas Wright 
for the Warton Society. 

Saint Stepben was a Clerft. 

O AINT STEPHEN was a clerk 
"^ In King Herod's hall, 
And served him of bread and cloth 
As ever king befall. 

Stephen out of kitchen came, . 

With boar's head on hand. 
He saw a star was fair and bright 

Over Bethlehem stand. 

He kist ^ adown the boar's head 
And went into the hall : 

" I forsake thee. King Herod, 
And thy workes all. 

1 Cast. 

;^ fy^fc^JBP^;^jFsfe^»?as;^^^ 



** I forsake thee, King Herod, 

And thy workes all ; 
There is a child in Bethlehem born 

Is better than we all." 

" What aileth thee, Stephen ? 

What is thee befall ? 
Lacketh thee either meat or drink 

In King Herod's hall ? " 

" Lacketh me neither meat ne drink 

In King Herod's hall ; 
There is a child in Bethlehem born 

Is better than we all." 

" What aileth thee, Stephen ? 

Art thou wode ^ or thou ginnest to breed ? ^ 
Lacketh thee either gold or fee 

Or any rich weed ? " ^ 

" Lacketh me neither gold nor fee, 

Ne none rich weed ; 
There is a child in Bethlehem born 

Shall helpen us at our need." 



^ Dress. 


" That is also sooth,^ Stephen, 

Also sooth i-wis ^ 
As this capon crowb shall 

That lieth here in my dish." 

That word was not so soon said, 

That word in that hall, 
The capon crew Christus natus est 

Among the lordes all. 

" Riseth up, my tormentors, 

By two and all by one. 
And leadeth Stephen out of this town, 

And stoneth him with stone." 

Tooken they Stephen 

And stoned him in the way, 

And therefore is his even 
On Christes own day. 

1 " Also sooth " = as true. 

* Assuredly. 




First printed in Eavmscroft's Melismata, 
Musical Phansies fitting the court, city 
and country /tumours (161 1). 

IRemember, © tbou /IDan. 

T3 EMEMBER, O thou Man, 

O thou Man, O thou Man ; 
Remember, O thou Man, 

Thy time is spent. 
Remember, O thou Man, 
How thou camest to me than,^ 
And I did what I can. 

Therefore repent. 

Remember Adam's fall, 
O thou Man, O thou Man ; 
Remember Adam's fall 

From Heaven to Hell. 
Remember Adam's fall, 
How we were condemned all 
To Hell perpetual, 

There for to dwell. 

^ Old form of then. 


Remember God's goodness, 
O thou Man, O thou Man ; 
Remember God's goodness 

And promise made. 
Remember God's goodness, 
How his only Son he sent 
Our sins for to redress, 

Be not afraid. 

The Angels all did sing, 
O thou Man, O thou Man ; 
The Angels all did sing 

The Angels all did sing 
Praises to our heavenly king, 
And peace to man living, 

With right good will. 

The Shepherds amazed was, 
O thou Man, O thou Man ; 
The Shepherds amazed was 

To hear the Angels sing. 
The Shepherds amazed was 
How this should come to pass. 
That Christ our Messias 

Should be our King. 



To Bethlehem did they go, 
O thou Man, O thou Man ; 
To Bethlehem did they go, 

This thing to see. 
To Bethlehem did they go 
To see whether it was so, 
Whether Christ was born or no, 

To set us free. 

As the Angels before did say, 
O thou Man, O thou Man ; 
As the Angels before did say, 

So it came to pass. 
As the Angels before did say, 
They found him wrapt in hay 
In a manger where he lay, 

So poor he was. 

In Bethlehem was he born, 
O thou Man, O thou Man ; 
In Bethlehem was he born 

For mankind dear. 
In Bethlehem was he born 
For us that were forlorn. 
And therefore took no scorn 

Our sins to bear. 


In a manger laid he was, 
O thou Man, O thou Man; 
In a manger laid he was 

At this time present. 
In a manger laid he was, 
Between an ox and an ass, 
And all for our trespass, 

Therefore repent 


Give thanks to God always, 
O thou Man, O thou Man ; 
Give thanks to God always 

With hearts most jolly. 
Give thanks to God always 
Upon this blessed day, 
Let all men sing and say, 

Holy, Holy. 


The most popular 0/ Christmas Carols. 

Go^ rest ^ou mert^, Oentlemen^ 

f^ OD rest you merry, gentlemen, 

Let nothing you dismay. 
For Jesus Christ our Saviour 

Was born upon this day 
To save us all from Satan's power 
When we were gone astray. 
O tidings of comfort and joy, 
For Jesus Christ our Saviour was born on 
Christmas day. 

In Bethlehem in Jewry 

This blessed babe was born. 
And laid within a manger 

Upon this tlessed morn ; 
The which his mother Mary 

Nothing did take in scorn. 

O tidings, &c 


From God our Heavenly Father 

A blessed angel came, 
And unto certain shepherds 

Brought tidings of the same, 
How that in Bethlehem was born 

The Son of God by name. 

O tidings, &c. 

Fear not, then said the angel, 

Let nothing you affright, 
This day is born a Saviour 

Of virtue, power, and might ; 
So frequently to vanquish all 

The friends of Satan quite. 

O tidings, &c. 

The shepherds at those tidings 

Rejoiced much in mind, 
And left their flocks a feeding 

In tempest, storm, and wind, 
And went to Bethlehem straightway. 

This blessed babe to find. 

O tidings. &c 



But when to Bethlehem they came, 

Whereat this infant lay, 
They found him in a manger 

Where oxen feed on hay ; 
His mother Mary kneeling 

Unto the Lord did pray. 

O tidings, &c. 

Now to the Lord sing praises, 

All you within this place, 
And with true love and brotherhood 

Each other now embrace ; 
This holy tide of Christmas 

All others doth deface. 

O tidings, &c. 



This and the six folloming pieces have 
been frequently printed in broad- 
side form, and in collections of 

tro^^morrow sball be m^ Dancina 2)ai?^ 

nrO-MORROW shall be my dancing day, 

I would my true love did so chance 
To see the legend of my play, 

To call my true love to my dance. 
Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love, 
This have I done for my true love. 

Then was I born of a Virgin pure. 
Of her I took fleshly substance ; 

Thus was I knit to man's nature, 
To call my true love to my dance. 

Sing, oh ! &c. 

In a manger laid and wrapped I was. 
So very poor, this was my chance. 

Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass. 
To call my true love to my dance. 

Sing, oh ! &c. 



Then afterwards baptized I was, 
The Holy Ghost on me did glance, 

My Father's voice heard from above. 
To call my true love to my dance. 

Sing, oh ! &c. 

Into the desert I was led, 

Where I fasted without substance ; 
The Devil bade me make stones my bread. 

To have me break my true love's dance. 
Sing, oh ! &c. 

The Jews on me they make great suit. 
And with me made great variance. 

Because they lov'd darkness rather than light. 
To call my true love to my dance. 

Sing, oh ! &c. 

For thirty pence Judas me sold. 
His covetousness for to advance ; 

Mark whom I kiss, the same do hold, 
The same is he shall lead the dance. 

Sing, oh ! &c. 


I , , 

; Before Pilate the Jews me brought, 

I Where Barabbas had deliverance ; 

They scourg'd me and set me at nought, 
Judged me to die to lead the dance. 

Sing, oh ! &c. 

Then on the cross hanged I was, 

Where a spear to my heart did glance ; 

There issued forth both water and blood, 
To call my true love to my dance. 

Sing, oh ! &c. 

Then down to hell I took my way 
For my true love's deliverance. 

And rose again on the third day 
Up to my true love and the dance. 

Sing, oh ! &c. 

Then up to heaven I did ascend. 

Where now I dwell in sure substance. 

On the right hand of God, that man 
May come unto the general dance. 

Sing, oh ! &c. 


xrbe Ibol^ MelL 

A S it fell out one May morning, 

And upon one bright holiday, 
Sweet Jesus asked of his dear mother, 
If he might go to play. 

To play, to play, sweet Jesus shall go, 
And to play pray get you gone ; 

And let me hear of no complaint 
At night when you come home. 

Sweet Jesus went down to yonder town, 

As far as the Holy Well, 
And there did see as fine children 

As any tongue can tell. 

He said, God bless you every one, 
And your bodies Christ save and see : 

Little children, shall I play with you, 
And you shall play with me ? 

f^SMs^M^iSs^s^m^ ^ Mm ^ m^^ 




But they made answer to him, No : 

They were lords' and ladies' sons ; 

And he, the meanest of them all, 

Was but a maiden's child, born in an ox's stall. 

Sweet Jesus turned him around. 
And he neither laughed nor smiled. 
But the tears came trickling from his eyes 
Like water from the skies. 

Sweet Jesus turned him about, 

To his mother s dear home went he. 

And said, I have been in yonder town, 
As far as you can see. 

I have been down in yonder town 

As far as the Holy Well, 
There did I meet as fine children 

As any tongue can tell. 

I bid God bless them every one. 

And their bodies Christ save and see : 

Little children, shall I play with you, 
And you shall play with me ? 



But they made answer to me, No : 

They were lords' and ladies' sons ; 

And I, the meanest of them all, 

Was but a maiden's child, born in an ox's stall. 

Though you are but a maiden's child, 

Born in an ox's stall. 
Thou art the Christ, the King of heaven, 

And the Saviour of them all. 

Sweet Jesus, go down to yonder town 

As far as the Holy Well, 
And take away those sinful souls, 

And dip them deep in helL 

Nay, nay, sweet Jesus said, 
Nay, nay, that may not be; 

For there are too many sinful souls 
Crying out for the help of me. 



Ubc Carnal anb tbe Crane. 

A S I pass'd by a river side, 

And there as I did reign, ^ 
In argument I chanced to hear 
A Carnal ^ and a Crane. 

The Carnal said unto the Crane, 
If all the world should turn, 

Before we had the Father, 
But now we have the Son ! 

From whence does the Son come ? 

From where and from what place ? 
He said, In a manger, 

Between an ox and ass ! 

I pray thee, said the Carnal, 

Tell me before thou go, 
Was not the mother of Jesus 

Conceived by the Holy Ghost ? 

1 A corruption of m«=run. 


2 Crow? 

She was the purest Virgin, 
And the cleanest from sin ; 

She was the handmaid of our Lord, 
And mother of our King. 

Where is the golden cradle 
That Christ was rocked in ? 

Where are the silken sheets 
That Jesus was wrapt in ? 

A manger was the cradle 
That Christ was rocked'So ; 

The provender the asses left 
So sweetly he slept on. 

There was a star in the West land, 

So bright did it appear 
Into King Herod's chamber, 

And where King Herod were. 

The Wise Men soon espied it, 
And told the king on high, 

A princely babe was born that night 
No king could e'er destroy. 

If this be true. King Herod said. 
As thou tellest unto me. 



This roasted cock that lies in the dish 
Shall crow full fences ^ three. 

The cock soon freshly feathered was 
By the work of God's own hand, 

And then three fences crowed he 
In the dish where he did stand. 

Rise up, rise up, you merry men all, 

See that you ready be. 
All children under two years old 

Now slain they all shall be. 

Then Jesus, ah ! and Joseph, 
And Mary, that was so pure, 

They travelled into Egypt, 
As you shall find it sure. 

And when they came to Egypt's land, 
Amongst those fierce wild beasts, 

Mary, she being weary. 

Must needs sit down to rest. 

Come sit thee down, says Jesus, 

Come sit thee down by me. 
And thou shalt see how these wild beasts 

Do come and worship me. 

^ Rounds. 

^^fettsaTgf ^T^1?:tf?qSBi^^ 


First came the lovely lion, 
Which Jesu's grace did spring, 

And of the wild beasts in the field, 
The lion shall be the king. 

We'll choose our virtuous princes, 

Of birth and high degree, 
In every sundry nation, 

Where'er we come and see. 

Then Jesus, ah ! and Joseph, 
And Mary, that was unknown. 

They travelled by a husbandman, 
Just while his seed was sown. 

God speed thee, man ! said Jesus, 
Go fetch thy ox and wain. 

And carry home thy corn again, 
Which thou this day hast sown. 

The husbandman fell on his knees, 

Even before his face ; 
Long time hast thou been looked for. 

But now thou art come at last. 



And I myself do now believe 

Thy name is Jesus called ; 
Redeemer of mankind thou art, 

Though undeserving all. 

The truth, man, thou hast spoken, 

Of it thou may'st be sure, 
For I must lose my precious blood 

For thee and thousands more. 

If any one should come this way. 

And inquire for me alone, 
Tell them that Jesus passed by, 

As thou thy seed did sow. 

After that there came King Herod, 

With his train so furiously, 
Inquiring of the husbandman, 

Whether Jesus passed by. 

Why, the truth it must be spoke. 
And the truth it must be known, 

For Jesus passed by this way 
When my seed was sown. 



But now I have it reapen, 
And some laid on my wain, 

Ready to fetch and carry 
Into my barn again. 

Turn back, says the Captain, 
Your labour and mine's in vain. 

It's full three quarters of a year 
Since he his seed has sown. 

So Herod was deceived 

By the work of God's own hand, 
And further he proceeded 

Into the Holy Land 

There's thousands of children young, 
Which for his sake did die. 

Do not forbid those little ones. 
And do not them deny. 

The truth now I have spoken. 
And the truth now I have shown 

Even the blessed Virgin, 
She's now brought forth a Son. 



30^5 Seven* 

T^HE first good joy our Mary had, 

It was the joy of one, 
To see her own Son Jesus 

To suck at her breast bone ; 
To suck at her breast bone, 

Good man, and blessed may he be, 
Both Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 

And Christ to eternity. 

The next good joy our Mary had, 

It was the joy of two, 
To see her own Son Jesus 

To make the lame to go ; 
To make the lame to go, 

Good man, &c. 

The next good joy our Mary had. 
It was the joy of three, 


To see her own Son Jesus 

To make the blind to see ; 
To make the blind to see, 

Good man, &c. 

The next good joy our Mary had, 
It was the joy of four, 

To see her own Son Jesus 
To read the Bible o'er ; 

To read the Bible o'er, 

Good man, &c. 

The next good joy our Mary had. 
It was the joy of five. 

To see her own Son Jesus 
To raise the dead alive ; 

To raise the dead alive. 

Good man, &c. 

The next good joy our Mary had. 

It was the joy of six, 
To see her own Son Jesus 

To wear the crucifix ; 
To wear the crucifix, 

Good man, &c. 



The next good joy our Mary had, 

It was the joy of seven, 
To see her own Son Jesus 

To wear the crown of Heaven ; 
To wear the crown of Heaven, 

Good man, and blessed may he be, 
Both Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 

And Christ to eternity. 


Zbc l^oon Sblnes Bdgbt 

n^HE moon shines bright, and the stars give a light 
A little before it was day, 
Our Lord, our God, he called on us. 
And bid us awake and pray. 

Awake, awake, good people all, 

Awake, and you shall hear. 
Our Lord, our God, died on the cross. 

For us whom he loved so dear. 

O fair, O fair Jerusalem, 

When shall I come to thee ? 
When shall my sorrows have an end. 

Thy joy that I may see ? 

The fields were green as green could be. 

When from his glorious seat 
Our Lord, our God, he watered us. 

With his heavenly dew so sweet. 



And for the saving of our souls 

Christ died upon the cross ; 
We ne'er shall do for Jesus Christ 

As he has done for us. 

The life of man is but a span, 

And cut down in its flower ; 
We are here to-day and to-morrow are gone, 

We are all dead in an hour. 

O pray teach your children, man. 

The while that you are here ; 
It will be better for your souls 

When your corpse lies on the bier. 

To-day you may be alive, dear man, 
Worth many a thousand pound ; 

To-morrow may be dead, dear man. 
And your body be laid under ground. 

With one turf at your head, O man, 

And another at your feet. 
Thy good deeds and thy bad, O man, 

Will all together meet. 




My song is done, I must be gone, 

I can stay no longer here. 
God bless you all, both great and small, 

And send you a happy new year ! 


H XOivQin most pure* 

A VIRGIN most pure, as the Prophets do tell, 
Hath brought forth a Babe, as it hath befell, 
To be our Redeemer from death, hell, and sin. 
Which by Adam's transgression hath wrapt us all in. 
Rejoice, and be you merry, set sorrow aside, 
Christ Jesus our Saviour was bom on this tide. 

In Bethlehem city, in Jewry it was. 
Where Joseph and Mary together did pass. 
And there to be taxed, with many one mo,^ 
For Caesar commanded the same should be so. 

Rejoice, and be you merry, &c. 

But when they had entered the city so fair, 
The number of people so mighty was there, 
That Joseph and Mary, whose substance was small. 
Could get in the city no lodging at all. 

Rejoice, &c. 

* More. 



Then they were constrained in a stable to lie, 
Where oxen and asses they used to tie ; 
Their lodging so simple, they held it no scorn, 
But against the next morning our Saviour was 

Rejoice, &c. 

The King of all glory to the world being brought. 
Small store of fine linen to wrap him was brought ; 
When Mary had swaddled her young Son so sweet, 
Within an ox manger she laid him to sleep. 

Rejoice, &c. 

Then God sent an angel from heaven so high, 
To certain poor shepherds in fields where they lie. 
And bid them no longer in sorrow to stay. 
Because that our Saviour was born on this day. 

Rejoice, &c. 

Then presently after, the shepherds did spy 
A number of angels appear in the sky, 
Who joyfully talked, and sweetly did sing, 
To God be all glory, our Heavenly King. 

Rejoice, &c. 




> Three certain wise princes, they thought it most meet 

ll To lay their rich offerings at our Saviour's feet ; 

ffl Then the shepherds consented, and to Bethlehem did 

I And when they came thither, they found it was so. 
1/ '' Rejoice, &c. 




Ube Sat>iout of all people, 

f^ OD bless the master of this house, 

And all that are therein, 
And to begin this Christmas tide 
With mirth now let us sing. 
For the Saviour of all people 

Upon this time was born. 

Who did from death deliver us, 

When we were left forlorn. 

Then let us all most merry be, 
And sing with cheerful voice, 

For we have good occasion now 
This time for to rejoice. 

For, &c 

Then put away contention all, 
And fall no more at strife. 

Let every man with cheerfulness 
Embrace his loving wife. 

For, &c. 




With plenteous food your houses store, 
Provide some wholesome cheer, 

And call your friends together 
That live both far and near. 

For, &c. 

Then let us all most merry be. 

Since that we are come here. 
And we do hope before we part 

To taste some of your beer. 

For, &c. 

Your beer, your beer, your Christmas beer, 

That seems to be so strong, 
And we do wish that Christmas tide 

Was twenty times so long. 

For, &c. 

Then sing with voices cheerfully, 
For Christ this time was born, 

Who did from death deliver us, 
When we were left forlorn. 

For, &c. 


By Robert Herrick. 

H Cbtistmas CatoL 

Sung to the King in the Presence at 

C/tor. — \ 1 rHAT sweeter music can we bring, 
Than a carol, for to sing 
The birth of this our heavenly King ? 
Awake the voice ! awake the string ! 
Heart, ear, and eye, and everything 
Awake ! the while the active finger 
Runs divisions with the singer. 

Jf'rom the flourish they come to the song. 

Dark and dull night, fly hence away. 
And give the honour to this day, 
That sees December turn'd to May. 

If we may ask the reason, say 

The why and wherefore all things here 

Seem like the spring-time of the year? 



Why does the chilling winter's morn 
Smile like a field beset with corn ? 
Or smell like to a mead new-shorn, 
Thus on the sudden ? Come and see 
The cause why things thus fragrant be : 
'Tis he is born whose quickening birth 
Gives life and lustre public mirth 
To heaven and the under-earth. 


C/ior. — We see him come, and know him ours, 
Who with his sunshine and his showers 
Turns all the patient ground to flowers. 

The darling of the world is come, 
And fit it is we find a room 
To welcome him. The nobler part 
Of all the house here, is the heart. 

Chor. — Which we will give him ; and bequeath 
This holly and this ivy wreath, 
To do him honour ; who's our King, 
And Lord of all this revelling. 

I^Pf ^^^ S ^^^^lM^ri^^^rr^:^ 



Printed in Ritaon's Ancient Songs and 
Ballads, Sandys' Christmas Carols, 
etc. {from Harl. MS. 5396, temp. 
Henry VI.) 

XTbe Contest of tbe 3v^ anb tbe 1boll^. 

"\T AY, ivy, nay, 

It shall not be, i-wis ^ ; 
Let holly have the mastery 
As the manner is. 

Holly stand in the hall, 

Fair to behold ; 
Ivy stand without the door 

She is full sore a-cold. 

Nay, ivy, nay, &c. 

Holly and his merry men, 
They dancen and they sing ; 

Ivy and her maidens, 

They weepen and they wring. 

Nay, ivy, nay, &c. 

^ Assuredly. 

l f,ii;iS^=^Tii;^^p Ad^9^^^^^ 




Ivy hath a kybe,^ 

She caught it, with the cold ; 
So mot 2 they all have ae,^ 

That with ivy hold. 

Nay, ivy, nay, &c. 

Holly hath berries 

As red as any rose, 
The foster * [and] the hunters 

Keep them from the doe[s]. 
Nay, ivy, nay, &c. 

Ivy hath berries 

As black as any sloe ; 
There come the owl 

And eat him as she go. 

Nay, ivy, nay, &c. 

Holly hath birdes, 

A full fair flock. 
The nightingale, the popinjay, 

The gentle laverock. 

Nay, ivy, nay, &c. 

1 The MS. has " lybe."— " Kybe " = chapped skin. 

2 May. ^ Each, severally. ■* Forester. 



Good ivy, 

What birdbs hast thou ? 
None but the howlet 

That krey ^ "how, how." 

Nay, ivy, nay. 

It shall not be, i-wis ; 
Let holly have the mastery 

As the manner is. 


By Robert Stephen Haicker. 

/iDo^r^b /IDan^a— Hunt /IDarp* 


In old and simple-hearted Cornwall, the household names " Uncle " 
and " Aunt " were uttered and used as they are to this day in 
many countries of the East, not only as phrases of kindred, but 
as words of kindly greeting and tender respect. It was in the 
spirit, therefore, of this touching and graphic usage, that they 
were wont on the Tamar side to call the Mother of God in their 
loyal language Modryb Mary a, or Aunt Mary. 

"XT OW of all the trees by the king's highway, 

Which do you love the best ? 
O ! the one that is green upon Christmas Day, 

The bush with the bleeding breast. 
Now the holly with her drops of blood for me : 
For that is our dear Aunt Mary's tree. 

Its leaves are sweet with our Saviour's Name, 

'Tis a plant that loves the poor : 
Summer and winter it shines the same 

Beside the cottage door. 
O ! the holly with her drops of blood for me : 
For that is our kind Aunt Mary's tree. 



'Tis a bush that the birds will never leave : 

They sing in it all day long ; 
But sweetest of all upon Christmas Eve 

Is to hear the robin's song. 
'Tis the merriest sound upon earth and sea : 
For it comes from our own Aunt Mary's tree. 

So, of all that grow by the king's highway, 

I love that tree the best ; 
'Tis a bower for the birds upon Christmas Day, 

The bush of the bleeding breast. 
O ! the holly with her drops of blood for me : 
For that is our sweet Aunt Mary's tree. 




By Robert Stephen Hawker. 

XTbe Cbtlb Jesus, 



■\X ^'ELCOME that star in Judah's sky, 

That voice o'er Bethlehem's palmy glen 
The lamp far sages hailed on high, 

The tones that thrilled the shepherd men : 
Glory to God in loftiest heaven ! 

Thus angels smote the echoing chord ; 
Glad tidings unto man forgiven. 

Peace from the presence of the Lord. 

The Shepherds sought that birth divine. 

The Wise Men traced their guided way ; 
There, by strange light and mystic sign, 

The God they came to worship lay. 
A human Babe in beauty smiled. 

Where lowing oxen round him trod : 
A maiden clasped her Awful Child, 

Pure offspring of the breath of God. 



Those voices from on high are mute, 

The star the Wise Men saw is dim ; 
But hope still guides the wanderer's foot, 

And faith renews the angel hymn : 
Glory to God in loftiest heaven ! 

Touch with glad hand the ancient chord ; 
Good tidings unto man forgiven, 

Peace from the presence of the Lord. 



By S. T. Coleridge. 

Ubc Sbepber&6 went tbetr bast^ TKIla^* 

nPHE shepherds went their hasty way, 

And found the lowly stable-shed 
Where the Virgin-Mother lay ; 

And now they checked their eager tread, 
^ For to the Babe that at her bosom clung, 

A mother's song the Virgin-Mother sung. 

They told her how a glorious light, 
Streaming from a heavenly throng, 

Around them shone, suspending night ! 
While sweeter than a mother's song. 

Blest angels heralded the Saviour's birth. 

Glory to God on high ! and peace on earth ! 

She listened to the tale divine. 

And closer still the Babe she prest ; 

And while she cried, the Babe is mine ! 
The milk rushed faster to her breast : 




Joy rose within her like a summer's morn ; 
Peace, peace on earth ! the Prince of peace is 

Thou Mother of the Prince of peace, 

Poor, simple, and of low estate ! 
That strife should vanish, battle cease, 

O why should this thy soul elate ? 
Sweet music's loudest note, the poet's story, — 
Didst thou ne'er love to hear of fame and glory ? 

And is not War a youthful king, 

A stately hero clad in mail ? 
Beneath his footsteps laurels spring ; 

Him earth's majestic monarchs hail 
Their friend, their playmate ! and his bold bright eye 
Compels the maiden's love-confessing sigh. 

" Tell this in some more courtly scene. 
To maids and youths in robes of state ! 

I am a woman poor and mean. 
And therefore is my soul elate : 

War is a ruffian all with guilt defiled. 

That from the aged father tears his child. 



" A murderous fiend by fiends adored, 
He kills the sire and starves the son ; 

The husband kills and from her board 
Steals all his widow's toil had won ; 

Plunders God's world of beauty ; rends away 

All safety from the night, all comfort from the day. 

" Then wisely is my soul elate, 
That strife should vanish, battle cease ; 

I'm poor and of a low estate, 

The Mother of the Prince of peace. 

Joy rises in me, like a summer's morn : 

Peace, peace on earth ! the Prince of peace is 

><r>7 fe ^ »;TS?R=s?^f;^^^ 


By Miss Cl^ristina G. Rossetti. 

H Cbti0tmas Carol. 

T N the bleak mid- winter 

Frosty wind made moan, 
Earth stood hard as iron, 

Water like a stone ; 
Snow had fallen, snow on snow. 

Snow on snow, 
In the bleak mid-winter 

Long ago. 

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, 

Nor earth sustain ; 
Heaven and earth shall flee away 

When he comes to reign : 
In the bleak mid-winter 

A stable-place sufficed 
The Lord God Almighty, 

Jesus Christ. 



Enough for him whom cherubim 

Worship night and day, 
A breastful of milk 

And a mangerful of hay ; 
Enough for him whom angels 

Fall down before, 
The ox and ass and camel 

Which adore. 

Angels and archangels 

May have gathered there, 
Cherubim and seraphim 

Thronged the air ; 
But only his mother, 

In her maiden bliss, 
Worshipped the Beloved 

With a kiss. 

What can I give him, 

Poor as I am ? 
If I were a shepherd 

I would bring a lamb, 
If I were a wise man 

I ^ould do my part, — 
Yet what I can I give him, 

Give my heart. 



By Mr. WiUiam Morris {from Sedding's 
Antient Christmas Carols, i860). 

/IDastet5, In tbis fbalL 

" npo Bethlem did they go, the shepherds three ; 

To Bethlem did they go to see whe'r it were so 

or no, 
Whether Christ were born or no 
To set men free." 

Masters, in this hall, 

Hear ye news to-day 
Brought over sea, 
And ever I you pray. 
Now ell I Nowdl! NowelU Nowell I 

Sing we clear I 
Holpen are all folk on earth. 
Born is God's Son so dear. 

Going over the hills, 

Through the milk-white snow, 
Heard I ewes bleat 

While the wind did blow. 

NowelL etc. 


Shepherds many an one 

Sat among the sheep ; 
No man spake more word 

Than they had been asleep. 

Nowell, etc. 

Quoth I " Fellows mine, 
Why this guise sit ye ? 

Making but dull cheer, 
Shepherds though ye be ? 

Nowelly etc. 

" Shepherds should of right 

Leap and dance and sing ; 
Thus to see ye sit 

Is a right strange thing." 

Nowell, etc. 

1 Quoth these fellows then, 
1 " To Bethlem town we 
1 To see a Mighty Lord 
1 Lie in manger low." 

Nowell^ etc. 






" How name ye this Lord, 

Shepherds ? " then said I. 
" Very God," they said, 

"Come from Heaven high." 

Nowelly etc. 

Then to Bethlem town 
We went two and two, 

And in a sorry place 
Heard the oxen low. 

Nowellj etc. 

Therein did we see 

A sweet and goodly May, 
And a fair old man ; 

Upon the straw she lay. 

Nowell^ etc. 

And a little Child 
On her arm had she ; 

" Wot ye who this is ? " 
Said the hinds to me. 

Nowell^ etc. 

j^g ^Jjl^^^^^jj^^^il^ ^ ^^ 



Ox and ass him know, 
Kneeling on their knee 

Wondrous joy had I 
This Httle Babe to see. 

Nowell^ etc. 

This is Christ the Lord, 

Masters, be ye glad ! 
Christmas is come in, 

And no folk should be sad. 

Nowell, etc. 


From Mr. William Morrii'a Land 
East of the Sun and West of the 
Moon [EariMy Paradite, vol. Hi.) 

©utlan&er0, wbence come ^c last? 

/^UTLANDERS, whence come ye last? 
^""^ The snow in the street and the wind on the door. 
Through what green sea and great have ye past ? 
Minstrels and maidsy stand forth on the floor. 

From far away, O masters mine, 

The snow in the street and the wind on the door. 
We come to bear you goodly wine : 

Minstrels and maids^ stand forth on the floor. 

From far away we come to you, 

The snow in the street and the wind on the door. 
To tell of great tidings strange and true : 

Minstrels and maids y stand forth on the floor. 



News, news of the Trinity, 

T/ie sfi07v in the street and the wind on the door. 
And Mary and Joseph from over the sea : 

Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor. 

For as we wandered far and wide, 

The snow in the street and the wind on the door. 
What hap do ye deem there should us betide ? 

Minstrels and maids ^ stand forth on the floor. 

Under a bent when the night was deep, 

The snow in the street and the wind on the door. 

There lay three shepherds tending their sheep : 
Minstrels and maids y stand forth on the floor, 

" O ye shepherds, what have ye seen, 

The snow in the street and the wind on the door. 

To slay your sorrow and heal your teen ? " 
Minstrels and maids ^ stand forth on the floor. 

" In an ox-stall this night we saw, 

The snow in the street and the wind on the door. 
A Babe and a maid without a flaw. 

Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor. 




" There was an old man there beside, 

T/ie snow in the street and the wind on the door. 

His hair was white, and his hood was wide. 
Minstrels and maids ^ stand forth on the floor. 

"And as we gazed this thing upon. 

The snow in the street and the wind on the door. 
Those twain knelt down to the Little One. 

Minstrels and maids ^ stand forth on the floor. 

" And a marvellous song we straight did hear, 
The snow in the street and the wind on the door. 

That slew our sorrow and healed our care." 
Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor. 

News of a fair and a marvellous thing, 

The snow in the street and the wind on the door. 

Nowell, nowell, nowell, we sing ! 

Minstrels and maids^ stand forth on the floor. 


From Mr. A. C. Stoinbume's Poems 
and Ballads (first series). 

XTbree Damsels in tbe (Siueen^s Cbambet. 

npHREE damsels in the queen's chamber, 

The queen's mouth was most fair ; 
She spake a word of God's mother 
As the combs went in her hair. 
Mary that is of might, 
Bring us to thy Son's sight. 

They held the gold combs out from her 

A span's length off her head ; 
She sang this song of God's mother 
And of her bearing-bed. 

Mary most full of grace. 
Bring us to thy Son's face. 

When she sat at Joseph's hand, 
She looked against her side ; 

1 Suggested by a drawing of Mr. D. G. Rossetti's. 

^^i iii^i^saai^^^ ^^s^^^ 


And either way from the short silk band 
Her girdle was all wried. 

Mary that all good may, 

Bring us to thy Son's way. | 

Mary had three women for her bed, 

The twain were maidens clean ; 
The first of them had white and red, 
The third had riven green. 

Mary that is so sweet. 
Bring us to thy Son's feet. 

She had three women for her hair. 
Two were gloved soft and shod ; 
The third had feet and fingers bare. 
She was the likest God. 

Mary that wieldeth land, 
Bring us to thy Son's hand. 

She had three women for her ease, 

The twain were good women ; 
The first two were the two Maries, 
The third was Magdalen. 

Mary that perfect is, 
Bring us to thy Son's kiss. 




Joseph had three workmen in his stall, 

To serve him well upon ; 
The first of them were Peter and Paul, 
The third of them was John. 

Mary, God's handmaiden, 
Bring us to thy Son's ken. 

" If your child be none other man's, 

But if it be very mine, 
The bedstead shall be gold two spans, 
The bed-foot silver fine." 

Mary that made God mirth, 
Bring us to thy Son's birth. 

" If the child be some other man's. 

And if it be none of mine. 
The manger shall be straw two spans, 
Betwixen kine and kine." 

Mary that made sin cease. 
Bring us to thy Son's peace. 

Christ was born upon this wise, 

It fell on such a night, 
Neither with sounds of psalteries, 
Nor with fire for light. 

Mary that is God's spouse, 
Bring us to thy Son's house. 



The star came out upon the east 
With a great sound and sweet : 
Kings gave gold to make him feast 
And myrrh for him to eat. 

Mary, of thy sweet mood, 
Bring us to thy Son's good. 

He had two handmaids at his head, 

One handmaid at his feet ; 
The twain of them were fair and red, 
The third one was right sweet. 
Mary that is most wise, 
Bring us to thy Son's eyes. Amen. 




By John Milton. 


Qn tbe /IDorntnG of Cbttst^s IFlativit^^ 

'T^HIS is the month, and this the happy morn, 

Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King, 
Of wedded maid and virgin-mother born, 
Our great redemption from above did bring ; 
For so the holy sages once did sing. 

That he our deadly forfeit should release, 
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace. 

That glorious form, that light insufferable, 
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty. 
Wherewith he wont at heaven's high council-table 
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity, 
He laid aside ; and, here with us to be. 
Forsook the courts of everlasting day, 
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay. 




Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein 

Afford a present to the Infant-God ? 

Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain, 

To welcome him to this his new abode, 

Now while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod, 

Hath took no print of the approaching light, 
And all the spangled host kept watch in squadron 
bright ? 

See, how from far, upon the eastern road, 
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet ; 
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode, 
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet ; 
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet, 

And join thy voice unto the angel-quire, 
From out his secret altar touch'd with hallow'd fire. 

It was the winter wild, 
While the heaven-born Child 

All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies ; 
Nature in awe to him, 
Had doff d her gaudy trim. 

With her great Master so to sympathise : 
It was no season then for her 
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour. 






Only with speeches fair 
She woos the gentle air 

To hide her guilty front with innocent snow ; 
And on her naked shame, 
Pollute with sinful blame, 

The saintly veil of maiden-white to throw ; 
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes 
Should look so near upon her foul deformities. 

But he, her fears to cease, 

Sent down the meek-eyed Peace ; 

She, crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding 
Down through the turning sphere, 
His ready Harbinger, 

With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing ; 
And, waving wide her myrtle wand, 
She strikes an universal peace through sea and land. 

^v; No war, or battle's sound, 

Was heard the world around : 

The idle spear and shield were high up-hung ; 

The hooked chariot stood 

Unstain'd with hostile blood ; 
§ The trumpet spake not to the armed throng ; 

And kings sat still with awful eye. 

As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by. 


But peaceful was the night 
Wherein the Prince of Light 

His reign of peace upon the earth began : 
The winds with wonder whist,^ 
Smoothly the waters kist, 

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean, 
Who now hath quite forgot to rave, 
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave. 

The stars, with deep amaze, 
Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze, 

Bending one way their precious influence ; 
And will not take their flight. 
For all the morning light. 

Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence ; 
But in their glimmering orbs did glow. 
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go. 

And, though the shady gloom 
Had given day her room. 

The sun himself withheld his wonted speed, 
And hid his head for sham^, 
As his inferior flame 

The new-enlighten'd world no more should need. 
He saw a greater Sun appear 
Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, could bear. 

1 Hushed. 


^ ga^^f^j^asjfe^^j ? ^: ' ^:-;^^ 




The shepherds on the lawn, 
Or ere the point of dawn, 

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row ; 
Full little thought they than ^ 
That the mighty Pan 

Was kindly come to live with them below ; 
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep, 
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep. 

When such music sweet 
Their hearts and ears did greet, 

As never was by mortal finger strook ; 
Divinely-warbled voice 
Answering the stringed noise, 

As all their souls in blissful rapture took : 
The air such pleasure loth to lose, 
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly 

Nature, that heard such sound. 
Beneath the hollow round 

Of Cynthia's seat, the airy region thrilling, 
Now was almost won 
To think her part was done. 

And that her reign had here its last fulfilling ; 

1 Old form of i/ien. 

She knew such harmony alone 

Could hold all heaven and earth in happier union. 

At last surrounds their sight 
A globe of circular light, 

That with long beams the shamefaced night array'd ; 
The helmed cherubim, 
And sworded seraphim, 

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd, 
Harping in loud and solemn quire, 
With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's new-born Heir. 

Such music (as *tis said) 
Before was never made, 

But when of old the sons of morning sung, 
While the Creator great 
His constellations set, 

And the well-balanced world on hinges hung ; 
And cast the dark foundations deep. 
And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep. 

Ring out, ye crystal spheres. 
Once bless our human ears. 

If ye have power to touch our senses so ; 


And let your silver chime 
Move in melodious time ; 

And let the base of Heaven's deep organ blow ; 
And, with your ninefold harmony, 
Make up full consort to the angelic symphony. 

For, if such holy song, 
Enwrap our fancy long, 

Time will run back and fetch the age of gold ; 
And speckled Vanity 
Will sicken soon and die, 

And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould ; 
And Hell itself will pass away. 

And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering 

Yea, Truth and Justice then 
Will down return to men. 

Orb'd in a rainbow ; and, like glories wearing, 
Mercy will sit between. 
Throned in celestial sheen, 

With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering ; 
And Heaven, as at some festival, 
Will open wide the gates of her high palace-hall. 




But wisest Fate says No, 
This must not yet be so, 

The Babe yet lies in smiling infancy, 
That on the bitter cross 
Must redeem our loss ; 

So both himself and us to glorify : 
Yet first, to those ychain'd in sleep, 
The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the f- 
deep; ^ 

With such a horrid clang 
As on Mount Sinai rang, 

While the red fire and smouldering clouds outbrake : 
The aged earth aghast 
With terror of that blast. 

Shall from the surface to the centre shake ; 
When at the world's last session, 
The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his 

And then at last our bliss 
Full and perfect is. 

But now begins ; for, from this happy day, 
The Old Dragon, under ground 
In straiter limits bound. 

Not half so far casts his usurped sway ; 


And, wroth to see his kingdom fail, 
Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail. 

The oracles are dumb. 
No voice or hideous hum 

Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. 
1 Apollo from his shrine 
Can no more divine, 

With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. 
No nightly trance, or breathed spell. 
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell. 

The lonely mountains o'er. 
And the resounding shore, 

A voice of weeping heard and loud lament ; 
From haunted spring and dale. 
Edged with poplar pale, 

The parting Genius is with sighing sent ; 
With flower-inwoven tresses torn. 
The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets 

In consecrated earth. 
And on the holy hearth 

The Lars, and Lemures, moan with midnight plain,t ; 



In urns, and altars round, 
A drear and dying sound 

Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint ; 
And the chill marble seems to sweat, 
While each peculiar power foregoes his wonted seat. 

Peor and Baalim 
Forsake their temples dim 

With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine ; 
And mooned Ashtaroth, 
Heaven's queen and mother both, 

Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shrine ; 
The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn, 
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz 

And sullen Moloch, fled. 
Hath left in shadows dread 

His burning idol all of blackest hue ; 
In vain with cymbals' ring 
They call the grisly king. 

In dismal dance about the furnace blue ; 
The brutish gods of Nile as fast, 
Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste. 



Nor is Osiris seen 

In Memphian grove or green, 

Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowings loud 
Nor can he be at rest 
Within his sacred chest ; 

Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud ; 
In vain with timbrell'd anthems dark 
The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt ark. 

He feels from Judah's land 
The dreaded Infant's hand, 

The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn ; 
Nor all the gods beside 
Longer dare abide. 

Nor Typhon huge ending in snaky twine : 
Our Babe, to show his Godhead true. 
Can in his swaddling bands control the damned crew. 

So, when the sun in bed, 
Curtained with cloudy red, 

Pillows his chin upon an orient wave, 
The flocking shadows pale 
Troop to the infernal jail. 

Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave ; 



And the yellow-skirted fays 

Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved 

But see, the Virgin blest 
Hath laid her Babe to rest ; 

Time is our tedious song should here have ending : 
Heaven's youngest-teemed star 
Hath fix'd her polished car, 

Her sleeping Lord, with handmaid-lamp attending : 
And all about the courtly stable 
Bright-harness'd ^ angels sit in order serviceable. 

^ In bright armour. 

j ffsSsagS^Sai^a^jfcte:?^^^ 



By Cfiles Fletcher. 

Mbo can forget— never to be torgot 

TIT" HO can forget — never to be forgot — 

The time, that all the world in slumber lies, 

When, like the stars, the singing angels shot 

To earth, and heaven awaked all his eyes, 

To see another sun at midnight rise 

On earth ? Was never sight of pareil ^ fame 
For God before, man like himself did frame. 

But God himself now like a mortal man became. 

A Child he was, and had not learnt to speak. 
That with his word the world before did make ; 
His mother's arms him bore, he was so weak, 
That with one hand the vaults of heaven could shake ; 
See how small room my infant Lord doth take 

Whom all the world is not enough to hold ! 

Who of his years, or of his age hath told ? 
Never such age so young, never a child so old. 


And yet but newly he was infanted, 

And yet already he was sought to die ; 

Yet scarcely born, already banished ; 

Not able yet to go, and forced to fly : 

But scarcely fled away, when by and by, 

The tyran's ^ sword with blood is all defiled, 
And Rachel, for her sons, with fury wild, 

Cries, "O thou cruel king, and O my sweetest 

Egypt his nurse became, where Nilus springs, 
Who, straight to entertain the rising sun, 
The hasty harvest in his bosom brings ; 
But now for drought the fields were all undone, 
And now with waters all is overrun : 

So fast the Cynthian mountains pour'd their 

When once they felt the sun so near them 
That Nilus Egypt lost, and to a sea did grow. 

The angels carolled loud their song of peace ; 

The cursed oracles were strucken dumb ; 

To see their Shepherd, the poor shepherds press ; 

^ Tyran is the old form of Tyrant. 

^gg^j>^ j?s^.^?^Bg?rf:fj >;^=^^^ 


To see their King, the kingly sophies ^ come ; 

And them to guide unto his Master's home, 
A star comes dancing up the Orient, 
That springs for joy over the strawy tent, 

Where gold, to make their prince a crown, they all 

Wise men. 

Jl irr^sas7a^fe^:i;»^fe?sate^ 



From Henry Vmighan's Silex 

O WEET, harmless livers ! on whose holy leisure 

Waits innocence and pleasure ; 
Whose leaders to those pastures and clear springs 

Were patriarchs, saints and kings ; 
How happened it that in the dead of night 

You only saw true light, 
While Palestine was fast asleep and lay 

Without one thought of day ? 
Was it because those first and blessbd swains 

Were pilgrims on those plains 
When they received the promise, for which now 

'Twas there first shown to you ? 
Tis true he loves that dust whereon they go 

That serve him here below, 
And therefore might for memory of those 

His love there first disclose ; 
But wretched Salem, once his love, must now 

No voice nor vision know ; 



Her stately piles with all their height and pride 

Now languished and died, 
And Bethlem's humble cots above them stept 

While all her seers slept ; 
Her cedar fir, hewed stones, and gold were all 

Polluted through their fall ; 
And those once sacred mansions were now 

Mere emptiness and show. 
This made the angel call at reeds and thatch, 

Yet where the shepherds watch. 
And God's own lodging, though he could not lack. 

To be a common rack. 
No costly pride, no soft-clothed luxury 

In those thin cells could lie ; 
Each stirring wind and storm blew through their cots, 

Which never harboured plots ; 
Only content and love and humble joys 

Lived there without all noise ; 
Perhaps some harmless cares for the next day 

Did in their bosoms play, 
As where to lead their sheep, what silent nook. 

What springs or shades to look ; 
But that was all ; and now with gladsome care 

They for the town prepare ; 
They leave their flock, and in a busy talk 

All towards Bethlem walk. 


To seek their soul's great Shepherd who was come 

To bring all stragglers home ; 
Where now they find him out, and, taught before, 

That Lamb of God adore, 
That Lamb, whose days great kings and prophets 

And longed to see, but missed. 
The first light they beheld was bright and gay. 

And turned their night to day ; 
But to this later light they saw in him 

Their day was dark and dim. 

f^0^4j ^Tfc^jS!iS?^fe;i^ ^ 



From Henry Vaughan's Silex 

A WAKE, glad heart ! get up and sing ! 
It is the Birthday of thy King. 
Awake ! awake ! 
The sun doth shake 
Light from his locks, and, all the way 
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day. 


Awake ! awake ! hark how th' wood rings, 
Winds whisper, and the busy springs 

A concert make ! 

Awake ! awake ! 
Man is their high-priest, and should rise 
To offer up the sacrifice. 


I would I were some bird, or star, 
Fluttering in woods, or lifted far 

Above this inn. 

And road of sin ! 
Then either star or bird should be 
Shining or singing still to thee. 

I would I had in my best part 
Fit rooms for thee ! or that my heart 

Were so clean as 

Thy manger was ! 
But I am all filth, and obscene ; 
Yet, if thou wilt, thou canst make cleaa 

Sweet Jesu ! will then. Let no more 
This leper haunt and soil thy door ! 

Cure him, ease him, 

O release him ! 
And let once more, by mystic birth, 
The Lord of life be born in earth. 


The inns are full, no man will yield 

This little pilgrim bed ; 
But forced he is with silly beasts 

In crib to shroud his head." 


By Robert Southwell. 

IRew prince, IRew ipomp^ 

T) EHOLD a silly tender Babe, 

In freezing winter night, 
In homely manger trembling lies ; 
Alas ! a piteous sight. 

The inns are full, no man will yield 

This little pilgrim bed ; 
But forced he is with silly beasts 

In crib to shroud his head. 

Despise him not for lying there, 

First what he is inquire ; 
An orient pearl is often found 

In depth of dirty mire. 

Weigh not his crib, his wooden dish, 

Nor beast that by him feed ; 
Weigh not his mother's poor attire, 

Nor Joseph's simple weed.^ 

^ Dress. 



This stable is a prince's court, 

This crib his chair of state ; 
The beasts are parcel of his pomp, 

The wooden dish his plate. 

The persons in that poor attire 

His royal liveries wear ; 
The Prince himself is come from heaven, 

This pomp is praised there. 

With joy approach, O Christian wight ! 

Do homage to thy King ; 
And highly praise this humble pomp 

Which he from heaven doth bring. 


From George Herbert's Temple. 


A LL after pleasures as I rid one day, 
1^ My horse and I both tired, body and mind. 

With full cry of affections quite astray, 
I took up in the next inn I could find. 

There, when I came, whom found I but my dear- 
My dearest Lord ; expecting till the grief 
Of pleasures brought me to him ; ready there 

To be all passengers' most sweet relief? 

O thou, whose glorious, yet contracted, light. 
Wrapt in night's mantle, stole into a manger ; 
Since my dark soul and brutish is thy right. 

To man, of all beasts be not thou a stranger ; 

Furnish and deck my soul, that thou may'st have 
A better lodging than a rack or grave. 



The shepherds sing ; and shall I silent be ? 

My God, no hymn for thee ? 
My soul's a shepherd too ; a flock it feeds 

Of thoughts and words and deeds. 
The pasture is thy word, the streams thy grace, 

Enriching every place. 

Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers 

Outsing the daylight hours. 
Then we will chide the sun for letting night 

Take up his place and right : 
We sing one common Lord ; wherefore he should 

Himself the candle hold. 

I will go searching till I find a sun 

Shall stay till we have done ; 

A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly 
As frost-nipt suns look sadly. 

Then we will sing and shine all our own day, 
And one another pay. 

His beams shall cheer my breast ; and both so twine, - 
Till ev'n his beams sing and my music shine. 


By BUhop Hall. 

fox dbristmas H)a^. 

T MMORTAL Babe, who this dear day 

Didst change thine heaven for our clay, 
And didst with flesh thy godhead veil, 
Eternal Son of God, all hail ! 

Shine, happy star ; ye angels, sing 

Glory on high to heaven's King : 

Run, shepherds, leave your nightly watch, 

See heaven come down to Bethlehem's cratch. 

Worship, ye sages of the east. 

The King of gods in meanness dressed 

O blessed maid, smile and adore 

The God thy womb and arms have bore. 

Star, angels, shepherds, and wise sages. 
Thou virgin glory of all ages, 
Restored frame of heaven and earth, 
Joy in your dear Redeemer's birth ! 



By Edmund Bolton. From England^s 
Helicon, 1600. 


O WEET music, sweeter far 
Than any song is sweet : 
Sweet music, heavenly rare, 
Mine ears, O peers, doth greet. 
You gentle flocks, whose fleeces, pearled with dew. 

Resemble heaven, whom golden drops make bright, 
Listen, O listen, now, O not to you 
Our pipes make sport to shorten weary night : 
But voices most divine 

Make blissful harmony : 
Voices that seem to shine, 
For what else clears the sky ? 
Tunes can we hear, but not the singers see. 
The tunes divine, and so the singers be. 

Lo, how the firmament 

Within an azure fold 
The flock of stars hath pent. 

That we might them behold. 




Yet from their beams proceedeth not this light, 

Nor can their christals such reflection give. 
What then doth make the element so bright ? 
The heavens are come down upon earth to live. 
But hearken to the song, 

Glory to glory's king, 
And peace all men among, 
These quiristers do sing. 
Angels they are, as also (Shepherds) he 
Whom in our fear we do admire to see. 

Let not amazement blind 

Your souls, said he, annoy : 
To you and all mankind 
My message bringeth joy. 
For lo, the world's great Shepherd now is born, 

A blessed babe, an infant full of power : 
After long night uprisen is the morn, 
Renowning BethVem in the Saviour. 
Sprung is the perfect day, 
By prophets seen afar : 
Sprung is the mirthful May, 
Which winter cannot mar. 
In David's city doth this sun appear 
Clouded in flesh, yet, shepherds, sit we here ? 



By Ben Jonsnn. 

H fb^mn on tbe IRatfvit^ ot m^ Saviour. 

T SING the birth was born to-night, 
The author both of life and light ; 

The angels so did sound it. 
And like the ravished shepherds said, 
Who saw the light, and were afraid. 

Yet searched, and true they found it. 

The Son of God, th' eternal king. 
That did us all salvation bring, 

And freed the soul from danger ; 
He whom the whole world could not take, 
The Word, which heaven and earth did make. 

Was now laid in a manger. 

The Father's wisdom willed it so. 
The Son's obedience knew no No, 

Both wills were in one stature ; 
And as that wisdom had decreed, 
The Word was now made flesh indeed, 

And took on him our nature. 

j $ptefeFS;afe^$^ife?g^^ 



What comfort by him do we win, 
Who made himself the price of sin, 

To make us heirs of glory ! 
To see this babe all innocence ; 
A martyr born in our defence : 

Can man forget the story ? 

i^ fategg2rg^;^j?;;fe<'i?7?g=^^^ 



From Richard Crashaw'a Steps to the 
Temple. The text of ed. 1648 w fol- 

B Ibpmn of tbe IRatlvttp, 


Chorus. /^^OME we shepherds whose blest sight 

Hath met Love's noon in Nature's night; 
Come, Hft we up our loftier song, 
And wake the sun that lies too long. 

To all our world of well-stol'n joy, 

He slept and dreamt of no such thing, 

While we found out heaven's fairer eye 
And kist the cradle of our King ; 

Tell him he rises now too late 

To show us ought worth looking at. 

Tell him we now can show him more 
Than e'er he showed to mortal sight, 

Than he himself e'er saw before, 

Which to be seen needs not his light. 

Tell him, Tityrus, where th' hast been, 

Tell him, Thyrsis, what th' hast seen. 



Ti/. Gloomy night embraced the place 
Where the noble Infant lay, 
The Babe looked up and showed his face ; 

In spite of darkness it was day. 
It was thy day, Sweet, and did rise 
Not from the East but from thine eyes. 
Chorus. It was thy day. Sweet, &:c. 

Thyrs. Winter chid aloud and sent 

The angry North to wage his wars ; 
The North forgot his fierce intent, 

And left perfumes instead of scars ; 
By those sweet eyes' persuasive powers. 
Where he meant frost he scattered flowers. 
Chorus. By those sweet eyes, &c. 

Both. We saw thee in thy balmy nest, 

Bright dawn of our eternal day ! 
We saw thine eyes break from their East 
And chase the trembling shades away \ 
We saw thee, and we blest the sight, 
We saw thee by thine own sweet light 

Tit. Poor world (said I), what wilt thou do 
To entertain this starry stranger } 
Is this the best thou canst bestow, 
A cold and not too cleanly manger ? 

?^^^^^gfif^;s^i^»^^=^ s^^^ 



Contend, ye powers of heaven and earth, 
To fit a bed for this huge birth. 

Chorus. Contend, ye powers, &c. 

Thyrs. Proud world (said I), cease your contest, 
And let the mighty Babe alone. 
The Phoenix builds the Phoenix nest. 

Love's architecture is all one. 
The Babe whose birth embraves this morn 
Made his own bed ere he was bom. 

Chorus. The Babe whose birth, &c. 

Tit, I saw the curFd drops, soft and slow, 
Come hovering o'er the place's head, 
Offering their whitest sheets of snow 
To furnish the fair Infant's bed : 
Forbear (said I), be not too bold ; 
Your fleece is white, but 'tis too cold. 
Chorus. Forbear (said I), &c. 

Thyrs. I saw the obsequious seraphins 

Their rosy fleece of fire bestow ; 
For well they now can spare their wings, 

Since heaven itself lies here below : 
Well done (said I), but are you sure 
Your down so warm will pass for pure. 
Chorus. Well done (said I), &c. 



Tt'f. No, no, your king's not yet to seek 
Where to repose his royal head. 
See, see, how soon his new-bloom'd cheek 

Twixt 's mother's breasts is gone to bed : 
Sweet choice (said I), no way but so. 
Not to lie cold, yet sleep in snow. 

Chorus. Sweet choice (said I), &c. 

Both. We saw thee in thy balmy nest, 
Bright dawn of our eternal day ! 
We saw thine eyes break from their East 
And chase the trembling shades away ; 
We saw thee, and we blest the sight, 
We saw thee by thine own sweet light 
Chorus. We saw thee, &c. 

Full Chorus. Welcome all wonder in one sight, 

Eternity shut in a span, 
Summer in winter, day in night. 

Heaven in earth and God in man ! 
Great little One ! whose all-embracing birth 
Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heaven to earth. 

Welcome, though not to gold nor silk. 
To more than Caesar's birthright is. 

Two Sister Seas of Virgin milk 
With many a rarely-tempered kiss. 




That breathes at once both Maid and Mother, 
Warms in the one and cools in the other. 

She sings thy tears asleep, and dips 
Her kisses in thy weeping eye ; 
She spreads the red leaves of thy lips 
That in their buds yet blushing lie : 
She 'gainst those mother-diamonds tries 
The points of her young eagle's eyes. 

Welcome, though not to those gay flies 
Gilded i' the beams of earthly kings, 

Slippery souls in smiling eyes, 

But to poor shepherds' home-spun things ; 

Whose wealth's their flock, whose wit to be 

Well read in their simplicity. 

Yet when young April's husband-showers 
Shall bless the fruitful Maia's bed, 

We'll bring the first-born of her flowers 
To kiss thy feet and crown thy head : 

To thee, dread Lamb, whose love must keep 

The shepherds more than they their sheep. 



To thee, meek Majesty ! soft King 
Of simple graces and sweet loves, 

Each of us his lamb will bring, 
Each his pair of silver doves, 

Till burnt at last in fire of thy fair eyes 

Ourselves become our own best sacrifice. 


From Richard Crashaw's Steps to the 
Temple. Only the opening lines 
are here given. 

H Ibymn for tbe Bptpban^, 


1 King. T) RIGHT Babe! whose awful beauties make 

The mom incur a sweet mistake ; 

2 H^ing. For whom the officious heavens devise 

To disinherit the sun's rise ; 

3 Xing. Delicately to displace 

The day, and plant it fairer in thy face ; 

1 King. O thou born King of loves ! 

2 Xing. Of lights ! 

3 Xing. Of joys ! 

Chorus. Look up, sweet Babe, look up and see ! 
For love of thee, 
Thus far from home 
The East is come 
To seek herself in thy sweet eyes. 

I Xing. We who strangely went astray, 
Lost in a bright 
Meridian night ; 



2 JCi'ng. A darkness made of too much day j 

3 Xmg. Beckoned from far 

By thy fair star, 

Lo, at last have found our way. 
Chorus. To thee, thou Day of Night ! thou East of 
West ! 
Lo, we at last have found the way 
To thee, the world's great universal East, 
The general and indifferent day. 

1 Ki7ig. All-circling point ! all-centring sphere ! 

The world's one round eternal year : 

2 King. Whose full and all-unwrinkled face 

Nor sinks nor swells with time or place ; 

3 King. But every where and every while 

Is one consistent solid smile. 

1 King. Not vexed and tost, 

2 King. 'Twixt spring and frost ; 

3 King. Nor by alternate shreds of light. 

Sordidly shifting hands with shades and night. 
Chorus, O little All, in Thy embrace. 

The world lies warm and likes his place ; 

Nor does his full globe fail to be 

Kissed on both his cheeks by Thee ; 

Time is too narrow for Thy year. 

Nor makes the whole world Thy half- sphere. 


By William Drummond 
0/ Hawthornden. 

13 UN, shepherds, run where Bethlehem blest 

We bring the best of news ; be not dismayed ; 
A Saviour there is born more old than years, 

Amidst heaven's rolling height this earth who stayed. 

In a poor cottage inned, a virgin maid 
A weakling did him bear, who all upbears ; 

There is he poorly swaddled, in manger laid, 
To whom too narrow swaddlings are our spheres : 
Run, shepherds, run and solemnise his birth. 

This is that night — no, day, grown great with bliss. 

In which the power of Satan broken is : 
In Heaven be glory, peace unto the earth ! 

Thus singing, through the air the angels swam, 

And cope of stars re-echoed the same. 



By William Drummond 
of HaMhomden. 

Ube Sbepberbs* 

/^ THAN the fairest day, thrice fairer night ! 

Night to blest days in which a sun doth rise 

Of which that golden eye which clears the skies 
Is but a sparkling ray, a shadow-light ! 
And blessed ye, in silly pastors' sight, 

Mild creatures, in whose warm crib now lies 
That heaven-sent youngling, holy-maid-born wight, 

Midst, end, beginning of our prophecies ! 
Blest cottage that hath flowers in winter spread, 

Though withered — blessed grass that hath the grace 

To deck and be a carpet to that place ! 
Thus sang, unto the sounds of oaten reed. 

Before the Babe, the shepherds bowed on knees ; 

And springs ran nectar, honey dropped from trees. 


By Sir John Beaumont. 

Qt tbe Bptpbani^* 

"pAlR eastern star, that art ordained to run 

Before the sages, to the rising sun. 
Here cease thy course, and wonder that the cloud 
Of this poor stable can thy Maker shroud : 
Ye heavenly bodies glory to be bright. 
And are esteemed as ye are rich in light ; 
But here on earth is taught a different way. 
Since under this low roof the Highest lay. 
Jerusalem erects her stately towers. 
Displays her windows and adorns her bowers ; 
Yet there thou must not cast a trembling spark, 
Let Herod's palace still continue dark ; 
Each school and synagogue thy force repels. 
There Pride enthroned in misty error dwells ; 
The temple, where the priests maintain their quire, 
Shall taste no beam of thy celestial fire, 
While this weak cottage all thy splendour takes : 
A joyful gate of every chink it makes. 


Here shines no golden roof, no ivory stair, 

No king exalted in a stately chair. 

Girt with attendants, or by heralds styled. 

But straw and hay enwrap a speechless child. 

Yet Sabae's lords before this babe unfold 

Their treasures, offering incense, myrrh and gold. 

The crib becomes an altar : therefore dies 

No ox nor sheep ; for in their fodder lies 

The Prince of Peace, who, thankful for his bed. 

Destroys those rites in which their blood was shed : 

The quintessence of earth he takes, and fees. 

And precious gums distilled from weeping trees ; 

Rich metals and sweet odours now declare 

The glorious blessings which his laws prepare, 

To clear us from the base and loathsome flood 

Of sense and make us fit for angels' food. 

Who lift to God for us the holy smoke 

Of fervent prayers with which we him invoke, 

And try our actions in the searching fire 

By which the seraphims our lips inspire : 

No muddy dross pure minerals shall infect. 

We shall exhale our vapours up direct : 

No storm shall cross, nor glittering lights deface 

Perpetual sighs which seek a happy place. 




From Jeremy Taylor's Festival 

fb^mn for Cbristmas-'Da^* 


I. T17HERE is this blessed Babe 
That hath made 

All the world so full of joy 

And expectation ; 
That glorious boy 
That crowns each nation 

With a triumphant wreath of blessedness ? 

2. Where should he be but in the throng, 
And among 

His angel ministers, that sing 

And take wing 

Just as may echo to his voice, 
And rejoice, 

When wing and tongue and all 

May so procure their happiness ? 



3. But he hath other waiters now : 

A poor cow, 
An ox and mule, stand and behold, 

And wonder 
That a stable should enfold 

Him that can thunder. 

Chorus. O what a gracious God have we, 

How good ! how great ! even as our misery. 




From Jeremy Taylor's Festival 

H Ib^mn tot Cbrf0tma5 Wa^. 

A WAKE, my soul, and come away : 
Put on thy best array ; 
Lest if thou longer stay 
Thou lose some minutes of so blest a day. 

Go run 
And bid good-morrow to the sun ; 
Welcome his safe return 

To Capricorn, 
And that great morn 
Wherein a God was born. 
Whose story none can tell 
But he whose every word's a miracle. 

To-day Almightiness grew weak ; 

The Word itself was mute and could not speak 

That Jacob's star which made the sun 
To dazzle if he durst look on, 
Now mantled o'er in Bethlehem's night. 
Borrowed a star to show him light. 



He that begirt each zone, 

To whom both poles are one, -^ 

Who grasped the Zodiac in his hknd 

And made it move or stand, 

Is now by nature man, 

By stature but a span ; 

Eternity is now grown short ; 

A King is born without a court ; 

The water thirsts ; the fountain's dry ; 

And life, being bom, made apt to die. 

Chorus. Then let our praises emulate and vie 
With his humiUty ! 
Since he's exiled from skies 

That we might rise, — 
From low estate of men 
Let's sing him up again ! 
Each man wind up his heart 
To bear a part 
In that angelic choir and show 
His glory high as he was low. 
Let's sing towards men goodwill and charity, 
Peace upon earth, glory to God on high ! 
Hallelujah ! Hallelujah ! 

i ^jfeg^:^|p^-;^^:rf^ g?st=^S^^ 


By Sir Edward Sherburne. 

Un^ tbep lai& Ibim in a /IDanger. ^ 

TJ APPY crib, that wert alone | 

To my God, bed, cradle, throne ! ;* 

Whilst thy glorious vileness I ^ 

View with divine fancy's eye, - 

Sordid filth seems all the cost, '■ 

State, and splendour, crowns do boast. s 


See heaven's sacred majesty i\ 

Humbled beneath poverty ; | ' 

Swaddled up in homely rags 

On a bed of straw and flags ! 

He whose hands the heavens displayed, 

And the world's foundations laid, 

From the world's almost exiled, 

Of all ornaments despoiled. 

Perfumes bathe him not, new-born, 

Persian mantles not adorn ; 

Nor do the rich roofs look bright 

With the jasper's orient light. 

r2 p»=^S!^^?^:^^^;^::P^f^^ 


Where, O royal Infant, be 
Th' ensigns of thy majesty ; 
Thy Sire's equalizing state ; 
And thy sceptre that rules fate ? 
Where's thy angel-guarded throne, 
Whence thy laws thou didst make known — 
Laws which heaven, earth, hell obeyed ? 
These, ah ! these aside he laid ; 
Would the emblem be — of pride 
By humility outvied ? 

j)P!»Mi»ig^^?B^^{^^ ia^^ 



By Robert Herrick. 

Hn Q^c on tbe Mittb of out Saviour* 

T N numbers, and but these few, 

I sing thy birth, O Jesu ! 
Thou pretty baby, born here 
With sup'rabundant scorn here : 
Who for thy princely port here, 

Hadst for thy place 
Of birth, a base 
Out-stable for thy court here. 

Instead of neat enclosures 
Of interwoven osiers, 
Instead of fragrant posies 
Of daffodills and roses, 
Thy cradle, kingly stranger, 
As gospel tells. 
Was nothing else 
But here a homely manger. 



But we with silks not crewels, 
With sundry precious jewels, 
And lily work will dress thee ; 
And, as we dispossess thee 
Of clouts, we'll make a chamber. 

Sweet babe, for thee 

Of ivory. 
And plaster'd round with amber. 

The Jews they did disdain thee, 

But we will entertain thee 

With glories to await here 

Upon thy princely state here ; 

And, more for love than pity, 

From year to year 
We'll make thee here 

A free-born of our city. 


^'^^^^m^pmisr^m^?^^msm^r^ ^ !^ s sim 



By Francis Kinwelmersh. From the 
Paradise of Dayntie Denises, 1576. 

Ifpr Cbrtetmas Dap* 

"D EJOICE, rejoice, with heart and voice ! 
In Christe's birth this day rejoice ! 

From Virgin's womb this day did spring 

The precious seed that only saved man ; 

This day let man rejoice and sweetly sing, 

Since on this day salvation first began. 

This day did Christ man's soul from death remove. 
With glorious saints to dwell in heaven above. 

This day to man came pledge of perfect peace, 
This day to man came perfect unity. 
This day man's grief began for to surcease, 
This day did man receive a remedy 

For each offence and every deadly sin 
With guilty heart that erst he wandered in. 




In Christy's flock let love be surely placed, 
From Christe's flock let concord hate expel, 
Of Christe's flock let love be so embraced 
As we in Christ and Christ in us may dwell ; 
Christ is the author of all unity, 
From whence proceedeth all felicity. 

O sing unto this glittering glorious king, 

O praise his name let every living thing. 

Let heart and voice, like bells of silver, ring 

The comfort that this day doth bring. 

Let lute, let shawm, with sound of sweet delight, 
The joy of Christe's birth this day recite. 


Bij S. T. Coleridge. 

"PjORMI, Jesu ! Mater ridet 

Quae tam dulcem somnum videt, 

Dormi,. Jesu ! blandule ! 
Si non dormis, Mater plorat 
Inter fila cantans orat, 

Blande, veni, somnule. 



Sleep, sweet babe ! my cares beguiling : 
Mother sits beside thee smiling ; 

Sleep, my darling, tenderly ! 
If thou sleep not, mother mourneth, 
Singing as her wheel she turneth : 

Come, soft slumber, balmily ! 

^ Copied from a print of the Virgin in a Roman Catholic 
village in Germany. 



By John Addington Symonds. 

H Cbtistmas Xullabi^^ 

C LEEP, baby, sleep ! The Mother sings : 

Heaven's angels kneel and fold their wings 
Sleep, baby, sleep ! 

With swathes of scented hay thy bed 
By Mary's hand at eve was spread. 
Sleep, baby, sleep! 

At midnight came the shepherds, they 
Whom seraphs wakened by the way. 
Sleep, baby, sleep ! 

And three kings from the East afar 
Ere dawn came guided by thy star. 
Sleep, baby, sleep ! 

They brought thee gifts of gold and gems. 
Pure orient pearls, rich diadems. 
Sleep, baby, sleep ! 



But thou who liest slumbering there, 
Art King of kings, earth, ocean, air. 
Sleep, baby, sleep ! 

Sleep, baby, sleep ! The shepherds sing : 
Through heaven, through earth, hosannas ring. 
Sleep, baby, sleep ! 



From George Wither's Hallelujah, 
or Britain's Second Remem- 

H lRocf?tng 1b^mn* 

O WEET baby, sleep ; what ails my dear ? 

What ails my darling thus to cry ? 
Be still, my child, and lend thine ear 
To hear me sing thy lullaby. 

My pretty lamb, forbear to weep ; 
Be still, my dear ; sweet baby, sleep. 

Thou blessed soul, what canst thou fear ? 

What thing to thee can mischief do ? 
Thy God is now thy Father dear ; 
His holy Spouse thy Mother too. 

Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep ; 
Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep. 

Whilst thus thy lullaby I sing. 

For thee great blessings ripening be ; 


Thine eldest brother is a king, I, 

And hath a kingdom bought for thee. /I 

Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep ; ' | 

Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep. '^ 

Sweet baby, sleep, and nothing fear, 

For whosoever thee offends, \] 

By thy protector threatened are, (t 

And God and angels are thy friends. | 

Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep ; 
Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep. 

When God with us was dwelling here. 

In little babes he took delight : 
Such innocents as thou, my dear. 

Are ever precious in his sight. ;ij 

Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep; IH 

Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep. S 


A little infant once was he, })| 

And Strength-in-Weakness then was laid ^v' 

Upon his Virgin-Mother's knee, r 

That power to thee might be conveyed. i 

Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep ; 

Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep. 

: --^^iii!^!^ltJJ:j;a^ ? ^J!^^ 



In this thy frailty and thy need 

He friends and helpers doth prepare, 
Which thee shall cherish, clothe, and feed, 
For of thy weal they tender are. 

S7aeef baby, then, forbear to weep ; 
Be still, iiy babe ; sweet baby, sleep. 

The King of kings, when he was born, 
Had not so much for outward ease ; 
By him such dressings were not worn. 
Nor such-like swaddling-clothes as these. 
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep ; 
Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep. 

Within a manger lodged thy Lord, 

Where oxen lay and asses fed ; 
Warm rooms we do to thee afford. 
An easy cradle or a bed. 

Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep ; 
Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep. 

The wants that he did then Sustain 

Have purchased wealth, my babe, for thee, 
And by his torments and his pain 
Thy rest and ease secured be. 

My baby, then, forbear to weep ; 
Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep. 




Thou hast (yet more), to perfect this, 

A promise and an earnest got 
Of gaining everlasting bliss, 

Though thou, my babe, perceiv'st it not. 
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep ; 
Be stilly my babe; sweet baby, sleep. 




From George Wither's Juvenilia. 

So, now i0 come our joi^fulst jFeast 

O O, now is come our joyfulst feast, 

Let every man be jolly ; 
Each room with ivy leaves is drest, 

And every post with holly. 
Though some churls at our mirth repine, 
Round your foreheads garlands twine ; 
Drown sorrow in a cup of wine, 

And let us all be merry. 

Now all our neighbours' chimnies smoke, 
And Christmas logs are burning ; 

Their ovens they with baked meats choke. 
And all their spits are turning. 


Without the door let sorrow lie ; ^ 

And if for cold it hap to die, m 

We'll bury't in a Christmas pie, % 

And evermore be merry. ^■ 

Now every lad is wondrous trim, j-- 

And no man minds his labour : <(; 

Our lasses have provided them )>: 

A bag-pipe and a tabor ; |x 

Young men and maids, and girls and boys, yi 

Give life to one another's joys ; < , 

And you anon shall by their noise ;l 

Perceive that they are merry. ! 

Rank misers now do sparing shun ; Ji 

Their hall of music soundeth ; (( 

And dogs thence with whole shoulders run, J^ 

So all things there aboundeth. )) 

The country folks themselves advance \\ 

For crowdy-mutton's ^ come out of France ; ^^\ 

And Jack shall pipe, and Jill shall dance, jjj 

And all the town be merry. I^j 

Ned Squash hath fetched his bands from pawn, ^J 

And all his best apparel ; 

Brisk Ned hath bought a ruff of lawn 

With droppings of the barrel ; 

1 Fiddlers. 

^;:?^fi^ P^s:?y^!ri^S^^^^ 



And those that hardly all the year 
Had bread to eat or rags to wear 
Will have both clothes and dainty fare, 
And all the day be merry. 

Now poor men to the justices 
With capons make their arrants ; 

And if they hap to fail of these. 
They plague them with their warrants : 

But now they feed them with good cheer, 

And what they want they take in beer ; 

For Christmas comes but once a year, 
And then they shall be merry. 

Good farmers in the country nurse 

The poor that else were undone ; 
Some landlords spend their money worse 

On lust and pride at London. 
There the roysters they do play, 
Drab and dice their lands away, 
Which may be ours another day ; 
And therefore let's be merry. 

The client now his suit forbears, 
The prisoner's heart is eased ; 

The debtor drinks away his cares, 
And for the time is pleased. 




Though other purses be more fat, 
Why should we pine or grieve at that ? 
Hang sorrow ! care will kill a cat, 
And therefore let's be merry. 

Hark ! how the wags abroad do call 

Each other forth to rambling : 
Anon you'll see them in the hall 

For nuts and apples scrambling. 
Hark ! how the roofs with laughter sound ! 
Anon they'll think the house goes round : 
For they the cellar's depth have found, 

And there they will be merry. 

The wenches with their wassail bowls 

About the streets are singing ; 
The boys are come to catch the owls, 

The wild mare in is bringing. 
Our kitchen-boy hath broke his box, 
And to the dealing of the ox 
Our honest neighbours come by flocks, 

And here they will be merry. 

Now kings and queens poor sheep-cotes have 

And mate with everybody ; 
The honest now may play the knave 

And wise men play at noddy. 


Some youths will now a mumming go. 

^^^^^^n gj;^y=^:Jaa^i^Vig^ak=^g^ 



Some youths will now a mumming go, 
Some others play at Rowland-ho, 
And twenty other gameboys mo, 
Because they will be merry. 

Then wherefore in these merry days, 

Should we, I pray, be duller ? 
No, let us sing some roundelays 
To make our mirth the fuller. 
And whilst thus inspir'd we sing, 
Let all the streets with echoes ring. 
Woods and hills and everything 
Bear witness we are merry. 



By Robert Herrick. 

Ceremonies for Cbrtstmas^ 

/^^OME, bring with a noise, 
My merry, merry boys, 
The Christmas log to the firing ; 

While my good dame, she 

Bids ye all be free ; 
And drink to your heart's desiring 

With the last year's brand 

Light the new block, and 
For good success in his spending. 

On your psaltries play. 

That sweet luck may 
Come while the log is a teending.^ 

Drink now the strong beer, 
Cut the white loaf here. 

The while the meat is a shredding ; 
For the rare mince-pie 
And the plums stand by 

To fill the paste that's a kneading. 

* Burning. 



'' Come, bring with a noise, 
My merry, merry boys, 
The Christmas log to the firing." 




Come, guard this night the Christmas-pie, 
That the thief, though ne'er so sly, 
With his flesh hooks don't come nigh 
To catch it, 

From him, who all alone sits there, 
Having his eyes still in his ear, 
And a deal of nightly fear 

To watch it. 


Wash your hands, or else the fire 
Will not teend to your desire ; 
Unwashed hands, ye maidens know. 
Dead the fire, though ye blow. 




Wassail the trees that they may bear 
You many a plum, and many a pear : 
For more or less fruits they will bring, 
As you do give them wassailing. 




There is a black letter copy of this song 
in the Pepysian Collection. The 
first part i& found in Durfey's Pills 
to Purge Melancholy. I have fol- 
lowed the text given in Rimhault's 
Little Book of Songs and Ballads. 

XTbe praise of Cbristmas* 

A LL hail to the days that merit more praise 

Than all the rest of the year, 
And welcome the nights that double delights 

As well for the poor as the peer ! 
Good fortune attend each merry man's friend, 

That doth but the best that he may ; 
Forgetting old wrongs, with carols and songs. 
To drive the cold winter away. 

Let Misery pack, with a whip at his back, 

To the deep Tantalian flood ; 
In Lethe profound let envy be drown'd, 

That pines at another man's good ; 
Let Sorrow's expense be banded from hence, 

All payments have greater delay. 
We'll spend the long nights in cheerful delights 

To drive the cold winter away. 



'Tis ill for a mind to anger inclined 

To think of small injuries now ; 
If wrath be to seek do not lend her thy cheek, 

Nor let her inhabit thy brow. 
Cross out of thy books malevolent looks, 

Both beauty and youth's decay. 
And wholly consort with mirth and with sport 

To drive the cold winter away. 

The court in all state now opens her gate 

And gives a free welcome to most ; 
The city likewise, tho' somewhat precise, 

Doth willingly part with her roast : 
But yet by report from city and court 

The country will e'er gain the day ; 
More liquor is spent and with better content 

To drive the cold winter away. 

Our good gentry there for costs do not spare, 

The yeomanry fast not till Lent ; 
The farmers and such think nothing too much, 

If they keep but to pay for their rent. 
The poorest of all now do merrily call, 

When at a fit place they can stay. 
For a song or a tale or a cup of good ale 

To drive the cold winter away. 




i^ Thus none will allow of solitude now 

But merrily greets the time, 
To make it appear of all the whole year 

That this is accounted the prime : 
December is seen apparel'd in green, 

And January f'esh as May 
Comes dancing along with a cup and a song 

To drive the cold winter away. 


This time of the year is spent in good cheer, 

And neighbours together do meet 
To sit by the fire, with friendly desire, 

Each other in love to greet ; 
Old grudges forgot are put in the pot, 

All sorrows aside they lay ; 
The old and the young doth carol this song 

To drive the cold winter away. 

Sisley and Nanny, more jocund than any, 
As blithe as the month of June, 

Do carol and sing like birds of the spring. 
No nightingale sweeter in tune ; 

To bring in content, when summer is spent, 
In pleasant delight and play, 

lF!RteS?ai^;fa ;$ fBfe!^^ 


With mirth and good cheer to end the whole year, 
And drive the cold winter away. 

The shepherd, the swain do highly disdain 

To waste out their time in care. 
And Clim of the Clough hath plenty enough 

If he but a penny can spare 
To spend at the night, in joy and delight, 

Now after his labour all day ; 
For better than lands is the help of his hands 

To drive the cold winter away. 

To mask and to mum kind neighbours will come 

With wassails of nut-brown ale, 
To drink and carouse to all in the house 

As merry as bucks in the dale ; 
Where cake, bread, and cheese is brought for your fees 

To make you the longer stay ; 
At the fire to warm 'twill do you no harm, 

To drive the cold winter away. 

When Christmas's tide comes in like a bride 

With holly and ivy clad. 
Twelve days in the year much mirth and good cheer 

In every household is had ; 

J if 

I I 

The country guise is then to devise 

Some gambols of Christmas play, 
Whereat the young men do best that they can 

To drive the cold winter away. 

When white-bearded frost hath threatened his worst, 

And fallen from branch and briar, 
Then time away calls from husbandry halls 

And from the good countryman's fire. 
Together to go, to plough and to sow. 

To get us both food and array. 
And thus with content the time we have spent 

To drive the cold winter away. 

1 62 


From Evans' Old Bailada, td. 1810, 
/. 146-150. 

®lt) Cbristmas IRetutnet), 


Being a Looking-glass for rich Misers, wherein they may see (if they 
be not blind) how much they are to blame for their penurious 
housekeeping, and likewise an encouragement to those noble- 
minded gentry, who lay out a great part of their estates in hospi- 
tality, relieving such persons as have need thereof ; 

•• Who feasts the poor, a true reward shall find, 
Or helps the old, the feeble, lame, and blind. " 

To the tune of " The Delights of the Bottle:' 

A LL you that to feasting and mirth are inclined, 
Come here is good news for to pleasure your 
Old Christmas is come for to keep open house, 
He scorns to be guilty of starving a mouse : 
Then come, boys, and welcome for diet the chief, 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast 



A long time together he hath been forgot, 
They scarce could afiford to hang on the pot ; 
Such miserly sneaking in England hath been, 
As by our forefathers ne'er us'd to be seen ; 
But now he's returned you shall have in brief, 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 

The times were ne'er good since Old Christmas was 

And all hospitality hath been so dead ; 
No mirth at our festivals late did appear. 
They scarcely would part with a cup of March beer ; 
But now you shall have for the ease of your grief. 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 

The butler and baker, they now may be glad. 

The times they are mended, though they have been 

The brewer, he likewise may be of good cheer, 
He shall have good trading for ale and strong beer ; 
All trades shall be jolly, and have for relief. 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 


The holly and ivy about the walls wind, 

And show that we ought to our neighbours be 

Inviting each other for pastime and sport. 
And where we best fare, there w^e most do resort ; 
We fail not of victuals, and that of the chief, 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 

The cooks shall be busied by day and by night. 
In roasting and boiling, for taste and delight ; 
Their senses in liquor that's nappy they'll steep, 
Though they be afforded to have little sleep ; 
They still are employed for to dress us in brief. 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 

Although the cold weather doth hunger provoke, 
Tis a comfort to see how the chimneys do smoke ; 
Provision is making for beer, ale, and wine. 
For all that are willing or ready to dine : 
Then haste to the kitchen for diet the chief, 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 



All travellers, as they do pass on their way, 
At gentlemen's halls are invited to stay, 
Themselves to refresh, and their horses to rest, 
Since that he must be Old Christmas's guest ; 
Nay, the poor shall not want, but have for relief, 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 

Now Mock-beggar-hall it no more shall stand 

But all shall be furnisht with freedom and plenty ; 
The hoarding old misers, who us'd to preserve 
The gold in their coffers, and see the poor starve. 
Must now spread their tables, and give them in 

Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 

The court, and the city, and country are glad. 
Old Christmas is come to cheer up the sad; 
Broad pieces and guineas about now shall fly. 
And hundreds be losers by cogging a die. 
Whilst others are feasting with diet the chief. 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 




Those that have no coin at the cards for to play, 
May sit by the fire, and pass time away. 
And drink of their moisture contented and free, 
" My honest good fellow, come, here is to thee ! " 
And when they are hungry, fall to their relief, 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 

Young gallants and ladies shall foot it along, 
Each room in the house to the music shall throng. 
Whilst jolly carouses about they shall pass. 
And each country swain trip about with his lass ; 
Meantime goes the caterer to fetch in the chief. 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 

The cooks and the scullion, who toil in their 

Their hopes do depend upon their Christmas box ; 
There is very few that do live on the earth 
But enjoy at this time either profit or mirth ; 
Yea those that are charged to find all relief, 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 

j fi5teP^f^ri;;^j??Bferfg^^ 



Then well may we welcome Old Christmas to town, 
Who brings us good cheer, and good liquor,so brown ; 
To pass the cold winter away with delight, 
We feast it all day, and we frolick all night ; 
Both hunger and cold we keep out with relief. 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 

Then let all curmudgeons who dote on their wealth, 
And value their treasure much more than their health. 
Go hang themselves up, if they will be so kind ; 
Old Christmas with them but small welcome shall 

find ; 
They will not afford to themselves without grief. 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast- 



From Round about our Coal Fire, 1740. 

© i^ou mctr^, mern^ Souls* |j 

r\ YOU merry, merry Souls, 

Christmas is a-coming, 
We shall have flowing bowls, 
Dancing, piping, drumming. 

Delicate minced pies 

To feast every virgin, 
Capon and goose likewise, 

Brawn and a dish of sturgeon. 


Then, for your Christmas box. 

Sweet plum cakes and money, : 
Delicate holland smocks. 

Kisses sweet as honey. 

Hey for the Christmas ball, Y] 

Where we shall be jolly, </j 

Jigging short and tall, ■,[ 

Kate, Dick, Ralph, and Molly. jj 


Then to the Hop we'll go 
Where we'll jig and caper ; 

Maidens all-a-row ; 
Will shall pay the scraper. 

Hodge shall dance with Prue, 
Keeping time with kisses ; 

We'll have a jovial crew 
Of sweet smirking misses. 

From Ritson's Ancient Songs, where 
it is stated to be from Wynkyn de 
Word^s Christmasae Carolles, 1 52 1 . 

H CaroL 


/^APUT apri defero 

Reddens laudes domino. 
The boar's head in hand bring I, 
With garlands gay and rosemary ; 
I pray you all sing merrily 

Qui estis in convivio. 

The boar's head, I understand, 
Is the chief service in this land ; 
Look, wherever it be fand, 

Servite cum cantico. 

Be glad, lords, both more and less. 
For this hath ordained our steward 

To cheer you all this Christmas, 
The boar's head with mustard. 




A modem version of the previous Carol. 
From Dibdin's Typog. Antiq. ii. 

Ube Boar's IbeaD CaroL 


T^HE boar's head in hand bear I, 

Bedecked with bays and rosemary ; 
And I pray you, my masters, be merry, 
Quot estis in convivo. 
Caput apri defero 
Reddens laudes domino. 

The boar's head, as I understand, 
Is the rarest dish in all this land, 
Which thus bedeck'd with a gay garland 
Let us servire cantico. 
Caput apri defero 
Reddens laudes domino. 

Our steward hath provided this 
In honour of the King of bliss ; 
Which on this day to be served is 
In Reginensi Atrio. 
Caput apri defero 
Reddens laudes domino. 

From the Christmas Prince, 1607 (printed 
in 1814). 

Boar's Ibeab Carol. 

SUNG AT ST. John's college, oxford, Christmas, f 

1. HTHE Boar is dead, 
Lo, here his head ; 

What man could have done more 
Than his head off to strike, 

And bring it as I do before. 

2. He living spoiled 
Where good men toiled. 

Which made kind Ceres sorry ; 
But now dead and drawn 
Is very good brawn. 

And we have brought it for ye. 

3. Then set down the swineyard. 
The foe to the Vineyard, 

Let Bacchus crown his fall ; 
Let this boar's-head and mustard 
Stand for pig, goose, and custard, 

And so ye are welcome all. 



By Robert Herrick. 

XTbe massaiL 

(^ IVE way, give way, ye gates, and win 

An easy blessing to your bin 
And basket by our entering in. 

May both with manchet stand replete ; 
Your larders too so hung with meat 
That, though a thousand thousand eat. 

Yet, ere twelve moons shall whirl about 
Their silvery spheres, there's none may doubt 
But more's sent in than was serv'd out. 

Next may your dairies prosper so 
As that your pans no ebb may know ; 
But if they do, the more to flow, 

Like to a solemn sober stream, 
Bank'd all with lilies and the cream 
Of sweetest cowslips filling them. 




Then may your plants be pressed with fruit, 
Nor bee or hive you have be mute, 
But sweetly sounding like a lute. 

Next may your duck and teeming hen 
Both to the cock's-tread say Amen, 
And for their two eggs render ten. 

Last, may your harrows, shares and ploughs, 
Your stacks, your stocks, your sweetest mows, 
All prosper by your virgin-vows. 

Alas ! we bless, but see none here 
That brings us either ale or beer : 
In a dry Jiouse all things are near. 

Let's leave a longer time to wait, 
When rust and cobwebs bind the gate 
And all live here with needy Fate. 

Where chimneys do for ever weep 

For want of warmth, and stomachs keep 

With noise the servants' eyes from sleep. 



It is in vain to sing or stay 

Our free feet here ; but we'll away : 

Yet to the Lares this we'll say, — 

The time will come when you'll be sad 

And reckon this for fortune bad, 

T' have lost the good ye might have had. 


From an undated black letter collection 
of New Christmas Carols {pre- 
served in the Bodleian Library). 

XKHassatUng Son^^ 

A JOLLY wassail bowl, 
A wassail of good ale ; 
Well fare the butler's soul 
That setteth this to sale ; 

Our jolly wassail. 

Good dame, here at your door 

Our wassail we begin, 
We are all maidens poor, 

We pray now let us in 

With our wassail. 

Our wassail we do fill 
With apples and with spice. 

Then grant us your good will 
To taste here once or twice 

Of our good wassail. 

8 t?»#=i^»=?=''p=?i^i?^^^ 


If any maidens be 

Here dwelling in this house, 
They kindly will agree 

To take a full carouse 

Of our wassail. 

But here they let us stand 
All freezing in the cold : 
Good master, give command 
, To enter and be bold, 

With our wassail. 

Much joy into this hall 

With us is entered in, 
Our master first of all 

We hope will now begin 

Of our wassail. 

And after, his good wife 
Our spicbd bowl will try ; 

The Lord prolong your life ! 
Good fortune we espy 

For our wassail. 


Some bounty from your hands 
Our wassail to maintain ; 

We'll buy no house nor lands 
With that which we do gain 

With our wassaiL 

This is our merry night 

Of choosing king and queen 

Then be it your delight 

That something may be seen 

In our wassail. 

It is a noble part 

To bear a liberal mind ; 
God bless our master's heart ! 

For here we comfort find, 

With our wassail 

And now we must begone 
To seek out more good cheer, 

Where bounty will be shown 
As we have found it here, 

With our wassail. 



.^ ^^^^_^^^:^^^^^^r^j^p^^^ 



Much joy betide them all, 
Our prayers shall be still, 

We hope and ever shall 

For this your great good will 
To our wassail. 



This piece and the next were commu- 
nicated to Notes and Queries {4th 
series, ii. 551), by Cuthbert Bede. 

Massailina Song. 

"VXTE wish you merry Christmas, also a glad New 

We come to bring you tidings to all mankind so dear ; 
We come to tell that Jesus was born in Bethl'em town, 
And now he's gone to glory and pityingly looks 

On us poor wassailers, 
As wassailing we go ; 
With footsteps sore 
From door to door 
We trudge through sleet and snow. 

A manger was his cradle, the straw it was his bed, 
The oxen were around him within that lowly shed ; 
No servants waited on him with lords and ladies gay ; 
But now he's gone to glory and unto him we pray. 
Us poor wassailers, &c. 


\-A :r^^.. 

" With footsteps sore 

From door to door 

We trudge through sleet and snow. 



His mother loved and tended him and nursed him 

at her breast, 
And good old Joseph watched them both the while 

they took their rest ; 
And wicked Herod vainly sought to rob them of their 

p By slaughtering the Innocents in Bethlehem un- 
^ defiled. 

But us poor wassailers, &c. 

;'( Now, all good Christian people, with great concern 
jl we sing 

1 1 These tidings of your Jesus, the Saviour, Lord and 
; ^ing; 

In poverty he passed his days that riches we might 

yC And of your wealth he bids you give and of your 


portion spare 

To us poor wassailers, &c. 

i j Your wife shall be a fruitful vine, a hus'sif good and 
;( able ; 

;,C Your children like the olive branches round about 
I your table ; 




Your barns shall burst with plenty and your crops shall t 

be secure i 

If you will give your charity to us who are so poor. | 

Us poor wassailers, &c. 

And now no more we'll sing to you because the hour 

is late, 
And we must trudge and sing our song at many another 

And so we'll wish you once again a merry Christmas 

And pray God bless you while you give good silver 

for our rhyme. 

Us poor wassailers, &c. 



Ibete we come a MbtstUng. 

T_T ERE wc come a whistling through the fields so 
green ; 

Here we come a singing, so fair to be seen. 

God send you happy, God send you happy, 
Pray God send you a happy New Year ! 

The roads are very dirty, my boots are very thin, 
I have a little pocket to put a penny in. 

God send you happy, &c. 

Bring out your little table and spread it with a cloth. 
Bring out some of your old ale, likewise your Christ- 
mas loaf, 

God send you happy, &c. 

God bless the master of this house, likewise the mistress 

too ; 
And all the little children that round the table strew. 
God send you happy, &c. 



The cock sat up in the yew tree, 
The hen came chuckling by, 

I wish you a merry Christmas, 
And a good fat pig in the sty. 




From Chappell's Collection 0/ ancient 
English Melodies, p. 161. An^ 
other version is given in Hone's 
Table Book, ii. 14. 

Massatl, wassail, all ovct the Zoxcn. 

Al rASSAIL, wassail, all over the town, 

Our bread it is white, and our ale it is brown 
Our bowl it is made of the maplin tree, 
So here, my good fellow, I'll drink it to thee. 

The wassailing bowl, with a toast within, 
Come, fill it up unto the brim ; 
Come fill it up that we may all see ; 
With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee. 

Come, butler, come bring us a bowl of your best. 
And we hope your soul in heaven shall rest ; 
But if you do bring us a bowl of your small, 
Then down shall go butler, the bowl and all. 

O butler, O butler, now don't you be worst. 
But pull out your knife and cut us a toast ; 
And cut us a toast, one that we may all see j — 
With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee. 



Here's to Dobbin and to his right eye ! 
God send our mistress a good Christmas pie ! 
A good Christmas pie as e'er we did see ; — 
With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee. 

Here's to Broad May and to his broad horn, 
God send our master a good crop of corn, 
A good crop of corn as we all may see ; — 
With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee. 

Here's to Colly and to her long tail. 
We hope our master and mistress heart will ne'er fail ; 
But bring us a bowl of your good strong beer. 
And then we shall taste of your happy new year. 

Be there here any pretty maids? we hope there be 

Don't let the jolly wassailers stand on the cold stone, 
But open the door and pull out the pin. 
That we jolly wassailers may all sail in. 


tog7^^ig^;^ jfc^t=;?i>;;??^j^^ 



From Wright's Songs and Carols 
{Percy Society). An inferior ver- 
sion {from MS. Harl. 541) was 
printed by Ritson. 


JSrina us In Goob Hle» 

RING us in good ale, and bring us in good ale ; 
For our blessed Lady's sake^ bring us in good ale. 

Bring us in no brown bread, for that is made of bran, 

Nor bring us in no white bread, for therein is no game, 

But bring us in good ale. 

Bring us in no beef, for there is many bones, 
But bring us in good ale, for that goeth down at once ; 
And bring us in good ale. 

Bring us in no bacon, for that is passing fat, 
But bring us in good ale, and give us enough of that ; 
And bring us in good ale. 

Bring us in no mutton, for that is often lean, 
Nor bring us in no tripes, for they be seldom clean ; 
But bring us in good ale. 


Bring us in no eggs, for there are many shells, 
But bring us in good ale, and give us nothing else ; 
And bring us in good ale. 


Bring us in no butter, for therein are many hairs, 
Nor bring us in no pig's flesh, for that will make us 
boars ; 

But bring us in good ale. 

Bring us in no puddings, for therein is all God's good, 
Nor bring us in no venison, for that is not for our 
blood ; 

But bring us in good ale. 

Bring us in no capon's flesh, for that is ofte[n] dear, 
Nor bring us in no duck's flesh, for they slobber in the 

But bring us in good ale. 



This and the three follotoing pieces are 
from New Christmas Carols, 1642. 

Come follow, follow me^ 


/^OME follow, follow me, 

Those that good fellows be, 
Into the buttery 
Our manhood for to try ; 
The Master keeps a bounteous house, 
And gives leave freely to carouse. 

Then wherefore should we fear. 

Seeing here is store of cheer? 

It shows but cowardice 

At this time to be nice. 

Then boldly draw your blades and fight, 

For we shall have a merry night. 

When we have done this fray, 
Then we will go to play 

^tE^^S^^S^1^^^^^^ jS^^ feS g?sMjRy?^ = ^'g^^^ 



At cards or else at dice, 

And be rich in a trice ; 

Then let the knaves go round apace, 

I hope each time to have an ace. 

Come, maids, let's want no beer 

After our Christmas cheer. 

And I will duly crave 

Good husbands you may have, 

And that you may good houses keep, 

Where we may drink carouses deep. 

And when that's spent the day 

We'll Christmas gambols play, 

At hot cockles beside 

And then go to all-hide, 

With many other pretty toys. 

Men, women, youths, maids, girls and boys. 

Come, let's dance round the hall. 
And let's for liquor call ; 
Put apples in the fire. 
Sweet maids, I you desire ; 
And let a bowl be spiced well 
Of happy stuff that doth excel. 



Twelve days we now have spent 
In mirth and merriment, 
And daintily did fare, 
For which we took no care ; 
But now I sadly call to mind 
What days of sorrow are behind. 

We must leave off to play, 

To morrow's working-day ; 

According to each calling 

Each man must now be falling. 

And ply his business all the year, 

Next Christmas for to make good cheer, 

Now of my master kind 

Good welcome I did find. 

And of my loving mistress 

This merry time of Christmas ; 

For which to them great thanks I give, 

God grant they long together live. 



HIl pou tbat ate good jfellows. 

A LL you that are good fellows 
Come hearken to my song ; 
I know you do not hate good cheer 

Nor liquor that is strong. 
I hope there is none here 

But soon will take my part, 
Seeing my master and my dame 
Says welcome with their heart. 

This is a time of joyfulness 

And merry time of year, 
Whereas the rich with plenty stored 

Doth make the poor good cheer ; 
Plum-porridge, roast-beef, and minced pies 

Stand smoking on the board, 
With other brave varieties 

Our master doth afford. 




Our mistress and her cleanly maids 

Have neatly played the cooks ; 
Methinks these dishes eagerly 

At my sharp stomach looks, 
As though they were afraid 

To see me draw my blade, 
But I revenged on them will be 

Until my stomach's stayed. 

Come fill us of the strongest, 

Small drink is out of date, 
Methinks I shall fare like a prince 

And sit in gallant state : 
This is no miser's feast, 

Although that things be dear ; 
God grant the founder of this feast 

Each Christmas keep good cheer. 

This day for Christ we celebrate 

Who was born at this time ; 
For which all Christians should rejoice 

And I do sing in rhyme. 
When yQu have given God thanks, 

Unto your dainties fall : 
Heaven bless my master and my dame, 

Lord bless me and you all. 




Come, maD Bops^ 

To the tune of ** Bonny Sweet Robing 

/^OME, mad boys, be glad, boys, for Christmas is 

And we shall be feasted with jolly good cheer ; 
Then let us be merry, 'tis Saint Stephen's day. 
Let's eat and drink freely, here's nothing to pay. 

My master bids welcome, and so doth my dame. 
And 'tis yonder smoking dish doth me inflame ; 
Anon I'll be with you, though you me outface. 
For now I do tell you I have time and place. 

I'll troll the bowl to you, then let it go round. 
My heels are so light they can stand on no ground ; 
My tongue it doth chatter, and goes pitter patter, 
Here's good beer and strong beer, for I will not 



And now for remembrance of blessed Saint Stephen, 
Let's joy at morning, at noon, and at even ; ^ 
Then leave off your mincing, and fall to mince-pies, 
I pray take my counsel, be ruled by the wise. 

Old ed. "evening." 



Come bravely on, mi^ /IDaaters. 

To the tune of " The King's going to Bulleine." 

/'^OME bravely on, my masters, 
For here we shall be tasters 

Of curious dishes that are brave and fine. 
Where they that do such cheer afiford, 
I'll lay my knife upon the board, 

My master and my dame they do not pine. 

Who is't will not be merry 
And sing down, down, aderry ? 

For now it is a time of joy and mirth ; 
'Tis said 'tis merry in the hall 
When as beards they do wag all ; 

God's plenty's here, it doth not show a dearth. 

Let him take all lives longest, 
Come fill us of the strongest, 

And I will drink a health to honest John ; 
Come pray thee, butler, fill the bowl, 
And let it round the table troll, 

When that is up I'll tell you more anon. 


if FMSPs s sm v^^^^^^^^'^^^i 



From New Chrutmas Carols (no date). 

/iDp /IDaster an^ H)ame, J well perceive^ 

To the tune of '■''Green Sleeves.'^ 

A /[ Y master and dame, I well perceive, 
Are purposed to be merry to-night. 
And willingly hath given me leave 

To combat with a Christmas Knight. 
Sir Pig, I see, comes prancing in 

And bids me draw if that I dare ; 
I care not for his valour a pin, 

For Jack of him will have a share. 

My lady goose among the rest 

Upon the table takes her place. 
And piping-hot bids do my best, 

And bravely looks me in the face ; 
For pigs and geese are gallant cheer, 

God bless my master and dame therefore ! 
I trust before the next New Year 

To eat my part of half a score. 


I likewise see good minced-pie 

Here standing swaggering on the table ; 
The lofty walls so large and high 

I'll level down if I be able ; 
For they be furnished with good plums, 
' And spiced well with pepper and salt, 
Every prune as big as both my thumbs 

To drive down bravely the juice of malt. 

Fill me some of your Christmas beer, 

Your pepper sets my mouth on heat. 
And Jack's a-dry with your good cheer, 

Give me some good ale to my meat. 
And then again my stomach I'll show, 

For good roast-beef here stoutly stands ; 
I'll make it stoop before I go, 

Or I'll be no man of my hands. 

And for the plenty of this house 
God keep it thus well-stored alway ; 

Come, butler, fill me a good carouse, 
And so we'll end our Christmas day. 



This piece and the next are from New 
Chriatmns Carols, 1661. 

Mttb mett^ (3lee ant) Solace* 

FOR ST. Stephen's day. 
To the tune of ^''Henry's going to Bullen'' 

A 1 HTH merry glee and solace 

This second day of Christmas 
Now comes in bravely to my master's house, 
Where plenty of good cheer I see, 
With that which most contenteth me, 
As brawn and bacon, powdered beef and souse. 

For the love of Stephen, 

That blessed saint of heaven, 

Which stonbd was [for] Jesus Christ his sake, 

Let us all both more and less 

Cast away all heaviness, 

And in a sober manner merry make. 




He was a man beloved, 

And his faith approved 

By suffering death on this holy day, 

Where he with gentle patience 

And a constant sufferance. 

Hath taught us all to heaven the ready way.^ 

So let our mirth be civil. 

That not one thought of evil 

May take possession of our hearts at all, 

So shall we love and favour get 

Of them that kindly thus do set 

Their bounties here so freely in this hall. 

Of delicates so dainty, 

I see now here is plenty 

Upon this table ready here prepared ; 

Then let us now give thanks to those 

That all things friendly thus bestows. 

Esteeming not this world that is so hard. 


For of the same my master 
Hath made me here a taster ; 

^ The old ed. gives " Hath taught to us all heaven," &c. 






The Lord above requite him for the same ! 

And so to all within this house 

I will drink a full carouse, 

With leave of my good master and my dame. 

And the Lord be praised 

My stomach is well eased, 

My bones at quiet may go take their rest ; 

Good fortune surely followed me 

To bring me thus so luckily 

To eat and drink so freely of the best 



3n bonout of Saint 3obn we tbus. 

(for ST. John's day.) 
To the tune of" Sellenger's Round:' 

T N honour of Saint John we thus 

Do keep good Christmas cheer ; 
And he that comes to dine with us, 

I think he need not spare. 
The butcher he hath killed good beef, 

The caterer brings it in ; 
But Christmas pies are still the chief, 

If that I durst begin. 

Our bacon hogs are full and fat 
To make us brawn and souse ; 

Full well may I rejoice thereat 
To see them in the house. 




But yet the minced pie it is 

That sets my teeth on water ; 
Good mistress, let me have a bit, 

For I do long thereafter. 

And I will fetch your water in 

To brew and bake withal, 
Your love and favour still to win 

When as you please to call 
Then grant me, dame, your love and leave 

To taste your pie-meat here ; 
It is the best in my conceit 

Of all your Christmas-cheer. 

The cloves and mace and gallant plums ^ 

That here on heaps do lie, 
[And prunes] as big as both my thumbs, 

Enticeth much mine eye. 
Oh, let me eat my belly-full 

Of your good Christmas-pie ; 
Except thereat I have a pull, 

I think I sure shall die. 

Good master, stand my loving friend. 
For Christmas-time is short, 

1 Old ed. " prunes."— Cf. p. 198, 11. 5-7. 



And when it comes unto an end 

I may no longer sport ; 
Then while it doth continue here 

Let me such labour find, 
To eat my fill of that good cheer 

That best doth please my mind. 

Then I shall thank my dame therefore, 

That gives her kind consent, 
That Jack your boy with others more 

May have this Christmas spent 
In pleasant mirth and merry glee, 

As young men most delight ; 
For that's the only sport for me, 

And so God give you all good-night. 


From New Christmas Carols {no date). 

Ubc 1Rew leat Is be^un^ 


Tune, " Humming of the Drone" 

'T^HE New Year is begun, 

Good morrow, my masters all ! 
The cheerful rising sun 
Now shining in this hall, 

Brings mirth and joy 

To man and boy. 
With all that here doth dwell ; 

Whom Jesus bless 

With love's increase, 
So all things shall prosper well. 

A New Year's gift I bring 

Unto my master here, 
Which is a welcome thing 

Of mirth and merry cheer. 

fs #«a 3i^a5 fR!!!^^ 


A New Year's lamb 

Come from thy dam 
An hour before daybreak, 

Your noted ewe 

Doth this bestow, 
Good master, for your sake. 

And to my dame so kind 

This New Year's gift I bring ; 
I'll bear an honest mind 
Unto her whilst I live. 

Your white-wooled sheep 

I'll safely keep 
From harm of bush or brere,^ 

That garments gay 

For your array 
May clothe you the next New Year. 

And to your children all. 

These New Year's gifts I bring ; 
And though the price be small. 
They're fit for queen or king : 
Fair pippins red 
Kept in my bed 

1 Old ed. " Biyar." 



A- mellowing since last year, 
Whose beauty bright 
So clear of sight 

Their hearts will glad and cheer. 

And to your maids and men 

I bring both points and pins ; 
Come bid me welcome then, 
The good New Year begins : 

And for my love 

Let me approve 
The friendship of your Maid, 

Whose nappy ale 

So good and stale 
Will make my wits afraid. 

I dare not with it deal 
But in a sober diet : 
If I poor shepherd steal 
A draught to be unquiet, 
And lose my way 
This New Year's day 
As I go to my fold. 
You'll surely think 
My love of drink 
This following year will hold. 




Here stands my bottle and hook, 
Good kitchen-maid, draw near, 
Thou art an honest cook, 

And canst brew ale and beer ; 

Thy office show, 

Before I go, 
My bottle and bag come fill, 

And for thy sake 

I'll merry make 
Upon the next green hill 


From A Cabinet of Choice Jewels, or 
the Christian's Joy and Gladness, 

Ubc ISoung /Iben auD /iDaibs on 1Rew 
JSear's S)a^» 

Tune of '■^ Caper and jerk it" 

nPHE young men and maids on New Year's day, 

Their loves they will present 
With many a gift both fine and gay, 

Which gives them true content : 
And though the gift be great or small, 

Yet this is the custom still. 
Expressing their loves in ribbons and gloves, 

It being their kind good-will. 

Young bachelors will not spare their coin. 

But thus their love is shown ; 
Young Richard will buy a bodkin fine 

And give it honest Joan. 
There's Nancy and Sue with honest Prue, 

Young damsels both fair and gay. 
Will give to the men choice presents agen 

For the honour of New Year's day. 


Fine ruffs, cravats of curious lace, 

Maids give them fine and neat ; 
For this the young men will them embrace 

With tender kisses sweet : 
And give them many pleasant toys 

To deck them fine and gay. 
As bodkins and rings with other fine things 

For the honour of New Year's day. 

It being the first day of the year, 

To make the old amends. 
All those that have it will dress good cheer 

Inviting all their friends. 
To drink great James's royal health, 

As very well subjects may, 
With many healths more, which we have store, 

For the honour of New Year's day. 



From New Christmas Carols, 1642. 

XTbe ©15 Iffcar now awa^ is ffleb. 

To the tune of " Green Sleeves.^'' 

nPHE old year now away is fled, 

The new year it is entered, 
Then let us now our sins down tread 

And joyfully all appear. 
Let's merry be this holiday. 
And let us now both sport and play. 
Hang sorrow, let's cast care away : 

God send you a happy New Year ! 

For Christ's circumcision this day we keep, 

Who for our sins did often weep ; 

His hands and feet were wounded deep. 

And his blessed side, with a spear. 
His head they crowned then with thorn, 
And at him they did laugh and scorn, 
Who for to save our souls was born ; 

God send us a happy New Year ! 

bAtfi aF3^te^j^?;=?^^jF?'^^=^^^^ 


And now with New- Year's gifts each friend 

Unto each other they do send ; 

God grant we may all our lives amend, 

And that the truth may appear. 
Now like the snake cast-off your skin 
Of evil thoughts and wicked sin, 
And to amend this New Year begin : 

God send us a merry New Year ! 

And now let all the company 
In friendly manner all agree, 
For we are here welcome, all may see. 

Unto this jolly good cheer. 
I thank my master and my dame. 
The which are founders of the same ; 
To eat, to drink now is no shame : 

God send us a merry New Year ! 

Come lads and lasses every one, 

Jack, Tom, Dick, Bessy, Mary and Joan, 

Let's cut the meat up unto the bone. 

For welcome you need not fear ; 
And here for good liquor we shall not lack, 
It will whet my brains and strengthen my back ; 
This jolly good cheer it must go to wrack : 

God send us a merry New Year ! 



Come, give's more liquor when I do call, 
I'll drink to each one in this hall ; 
I hope that so loud I must not bawl, 

But unto me lend an ear ; 
Good fortune to my master send, 
And to my dame which is our friend, 
Lord bless us all, and so I end : 

God send us a happy New Year ! 


Frmn Poor Robin's Almanac, 1664. 

provide tor CbriBtmas^ 

PROVIDE for Christmas ere that it do come, 
To feast thy neighbour good cheer to have 
some ; 
Good bread and drink, a fire in the hall, 
Brawn, pudding, souse and good mustard withal ; 
Beef, mutton, pork, and shred pies of the best, 
Pig, veal, goose, capon, and turkey well drest ; 
Apples and nuts to throw about the hall, 
That boys and girls may scramble for them all. 
Sing jolly carols, make the fiddlers play. 
Let scrupulous fanatics keep away ; 
For oftentimes seen no arranter knave 
Than some who do counterfeit most to be grave. 





!;m^7 ^ ' ^^ ' L^.. 


From Poor Robin's Almanac, 1695. 

IFlow tbrice welcomCt Cbtistma6» 

TVr OW thrice welcome, Christmas, 
Which brings us good cheer, 
Minced pies and plum porridge, 

Good ale and strong beer ; 
With pig, goose and capon. 

The best that may be, 
So well doth the weather 

And our stomachs agree. 

Observe how the chimneys 

Do smoke all about, 
The cooks are providing 

For dinner, no doubt ; 
But those on whose tables 

No victuals appear, 
O may they keep Lent 

All the rest of the year. 



With holly and ivy 

So green and so gay, 
We deck up our houses 

As fresh as the day ; 
With bay and rosemary 

And laurel complete ; 
And every one now 

Is a king in conceit. 



From Poor Robin's A Imanac, 1700. 

Mow tbat tbe time Is come wberetn* 

IVF OW that the time is come wherein 

Our Saviour Christ was born, 
The larders full of beef and pork, 

The garners fill'd with corn ; 
As God hath plenty to thee sent, 

Take comfort of thy labours. 
And let it never thee repent 

To feast thy needy neighbours. 

Let fires in every chimney be 

That people they may warm them ; 
Tables with dishes covered, — 

Good victuals will not harm them. 
With mutton, veal, beef, pig and pork. 

Well furnish every board ; 
Plum-pudding, furmity and what 

Thy stock will them afford. 


No niggard of thy liquor be, 

Let it go round thy table ; ?! 
People may freely drink, but not 

So long as they are able. 

Good customs they may be abused, ; 

Which makes rich men to slack us ; i 

This feast is to relieve the poor ./ 

And not to drunken Bacchus. I 

Thus if thou doest f 

'Twill credit raise thee ; r| 

God will thee bless j! 

And neighbours praise thee. j 





From Poor Robin's Almanac, 1701. 

IFlow enter Cbrtstmas Ufte a man. 

IV] OW enter Christmas like a man, 

Armed with spit and dripping-pan, 
Attended with pasty, plum-pie. 
Puddings, plum-porridge, furmity; 
With beef, pork, mutton of each sort 
More than my pen can make report ; 
Pig, swan, goose, rabbits, partridge, teal, 
With legs and loins and breasts of veal : 
But above all the minced pies 
Must mention'd be in any wise. 
Or else my Muse were much to blame. 
Since they from Christmas take their name. 
With these, or any one of these, 
A man may dine well if he please ; 
Yet this must well be understood, — 
Though one of these be singly good. 
Yet more the merrier is the best 
; As well of dishes as of guest. 

But the times are grown so bad 
Scarce one dish for the poor is had ; 



Good housekeeping is laid aside, 

And all is spent to maintain pride j 

Good works are counted popish, and 

Small charity is in the land. 

A man may sooner (truth I tell ye) 

Break his own neck than fill his belly. 

Good God, amend what is amiss 

And send a remedy to this, 

That Christmas day again may rise 

And we enjoy our Christmas pies. 




From Poor Robin's Almanac, 1715. 

IFI0W Cbristmas comes 'tis fit tbat we. 

IVr OW Christmas comes, 'tis fit that we 

Should feast and sing and merry be, 
Keep open house, let fiddlers play ; 
A fig for cold, sing care away ! 
And may they who thereat repine. 
On brown bread and on small beer dine. 
Make fires with logs, let the cooks sweat 
With boiling and with roasting meat ; 
Let ovens be heat for fresh supplies 
Of puddings, pasties, and minced pies, 
And whilst that Christmas doth abide 
Let butt'ry-door stand open wide. 
Hang up those churls that will not feast 
Or with good fellows be a guest, 
And hang up those would take away 
The observation of that day ; 
O may they never minced pies eat, 
Plum-pudding, roast-beef, nor such meat. 


But blest be they, awake and sleep, 
Who at that time [a] good house keep 
May never want come nigh their door, 
Who at that time relieve the poor ; 
Be plenty always in their house 
Of beef, veal, lamb, pork, mutton, souse. 

fi J 




From the Bishoprick Garland, 1834 (a 
collection of songs, ballads, etc., 
helon'jing to the county of Durham). 

/lDatC)6, Gct up anb :flSafee i^our pies. 

ly/r AIDS, get up and bake your pies, 
Bake your pies, bake your pies ; 
Maids, get up and bake your pies, 
'Tis Christmas day in the morning. 

i Sailing by, sailing by ; 

See the ships all sailing by, 

See the ships all sailing by 

On Christmas day in the morning. 

Dame, what made your ducks to die, 
Ducks to die, ducks to die ; 

Dame, what made your ducks to die 
On Christmas day in the morning ? 



You let your lazy maidens lie, 
Maidens lie, maidens lie ; 

You let your lazy maidens lie 

On Christmas day in the morning. 



From Thomas Weelkuf Madrigals, 1597. 

XTo sborten Mtnter's sadness. 

'T^O shorten winter's sadness 

See where the nymphs with gladness 
Disguised all are coming, 
Right wantonly a mumming. 

Fa la. 

Whilst youthful sports are lasting, 
To feasting turn our fasting ; 
With revels and with wassails 
Make grief and care our vassals. 

Fa la. 

For youth it well beseemeth 
That pleasure he esteemeth j 
And sullen age is hated 
That mirth would have abated. 

Fa la. 



By Robert Herrick. 

H IRew isear's Gift sent to Sir Simeon 

"XT O news of navies burnt at seas ; 

No noise of late-spawned tittyries ; 
No closet-plot or open vent 
That frights men with a parliament ; 
No new device or late-found trick 
To read by th' stars the kingdom's sick ; 
No gin to catch the state or ring 
The free-born nostrils of the king, 
We send to you : but here a jolly 
Verse, crown'd with ivy and with holly, 
That tells of winter's tales and mirth 
That milk-maids make about the hearth ; 
Of Christmas-sports ; the wassail bowl ; 
That tost up, after fox-i'-th'-hole ; 
Of blind-man's-buff, and of the care 
That young men have to shoe the mare ; 
Of Twelfth-tide cakes, of pease and beans, 
Wherewith ye make those merry scenes. 





Whenas ye chuse your king and queen 

And cry out Hey for our toivn-green I 

Of ash-heaps, in the which ye use 

Husbands and wives by streaks to chuse ; 

Of cracking laurel, which foresounds 

A plenteous harvest to your grounds : 

Of these and such like things, for shift, 

We send instead of New- Year's gift. 

Read then, and when your faces shine 

With buxom meat and cap'ring wine, 

Remember us in cups full-crown'd 

And let our city-health go round. 

Quite through the young maids and the men 

To the ninth number, if not ten ; 

Until the fired chestnuts leap 

For joy to see the fruits ye reap 

From the plump chalice and the cup, 

That tempts till it be tossed up ; 

Then, as ye sit about your embers. 

Call not to mind those fled Decembers, 

But think on these that are t'appear 

As daughters to the instant year. 

Sit crowned with rose-buds, and carouse 

Till Liber Pater twirls the house 

About your ears, and lay upon 

The year, your cares, that's fled and gone. 



And let the russet swains the plough 

And harrow hang up resting now, 

And to the bagpipe all address 

Till sleep takes place of weariness. 

And thus throughout with Christmas plays 

Frolic the full twelve holidays. 

gas'tegmg^Sfef^ : 



By Robert Herrick. 

trwelftb mtgbt ; 





IVr OW, now the mirth comes, 

With the cake full of plums, 
Where bean's the king of the sport here ; 

Beside we must know, 

The pea also 
Must revel as queen in the court here. 

Begin then to chuse, 

This night as ye use, 
Who shall for the present delight here ; 

Be a king by the lot. 

And who shall not 
Be Twelfth-day queen for the night here. 

Which known, let us make 

Joy-sops with the cake ; 
And let not a man then be seen here 

Who unurg'd will not drink. 

To the base from the brink, 
A health to the king and the queen here. 


-- ..- :v^->-^:^^?::=i^ jts^s;?^^^ 



Next crown the bowl full 

With gentle lambs-wool ; 
Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger, 

With store of ale too ; 

And thus ye must do 
To make the wassail a swinger. 


Give then to the king 

And queen wassailing, 
And though with ale ye be whet here. 

Yet part ye from hence, 

As free from offence, 
As when ye innocent met here 

From Sir Walter Scott's Marmion. 
{Introduction to Canto VI.) 

Cbrt0tmas In tbe ©l^en Ulme^ 

'T^HE damsel donned her kirtle sheen ; 

The hall was dressed with holly green ; 
Forth to the wood did merry-men go 
To gather in the misletoe. 
Then opened wide the baron's hall 
To vassal, tenant, serf and all ; 
Power laid his rod of rule aside, 
And ceremony doffed his pride. 
The heir, with roses in his shoes, 
That night might village-partner chuse ; 
The lord underogating share 
The vulgar game of post-and-pair. 
All hailed with uncontrolled delight 
And general voice, the happy night. 
That to the cottage as the crown 
Brought tidings of salvation down. 
The fire with well-dried logs supplied 
Went roaring up the chimney wide ; 


The huge hall-table's oaken face, 

Scrubbed till it shone, the day to grace, 

Bore then upon its massive board 

No mark to part the squire and lord. 

Then was brought in the lusty brawn 

By old blue-coated serving-man ; 

Then the grim boar's head frowned on high, 

Crested with bay and rosemary. 

Well can the green-garbed ranger tell 

How, when, and where the monster fell ; 

What dogs before his death he tore, 

And all the baiting of the boar. 

The wassail round, in good brown bowls, 

Garnished with ribbons blithely trowls. 

There the huge sir-loin reeked ; hard by 

Plum-porridge stood and Christmas pie ; 

Nor failed old Scotland to produce 

At such high tide her savoury goose. 

Then came the merry masquers in 

And carols roared with blithesome din ; 

If unmelodious was the song 

It was a hearty note and strong. 

Who lists may in their mumming see 

Traces of ancient mystery ; 

White shirts supplied the masquerade, 

And smutted cheeks the visors made : 


Then the grim boar's head frowned on high. 



But, oh ! what masquers richly dight 
Can boast of bosoms half so light ! 
England was merry England when 
Old Christmas brought his sports again. 
*Twas Christmas broached the mightiest ale, 
'Twas Christmas told the merriest tale ; 
A Christmas gambol oft would cheer 
The poor man's heart through half the year. 



Dedication of Wordsworth's River Dud- 
don Sonnets. Addressed to his 
brother. Dr. Christopher Words- 

Cbdstmas /HMnstrelsp* 

'X*HE minstrels played their Christmas tune 

To-night beneath my cottage eaves ; 
While smitten by a lofty moon, 
The encircling laurels thick with leaves, 
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen, 
That overpowered their natural green. 

Through hill and valley every breeze 

Had sunk to rest with folded wings : 

Keen was the air, but could not freeze 

Nor check the music of the strings ; 

So stout and hardy were the band 

That scraped the chords with strenuous hand. 

And who but listened ? — till was paid 
Respect to every inmate's claim. 
The greeting given, the music played 
In honour of each household name. 
Duly pronounced with lusty call, 
And a merry Christmas wished to all. 

* ^j^^ffij^at^ f^fte^^^sissi^ 



O Brother ! I revere the choice 
That took thee from thy native hills ; 
And it is given thee to rejoice : 
Though public care full often tills 
(Heaven only witness of the toil) 
A barren and ungrateful soil. 

Yet would that thou, with me and mine, 

Hadst heard this never-failing rite ; 

And seen on other faces shine 

A true revival of the light ; 

Which nature, and these rustic powers. 

In simple childhood, spread through ours ! 

For pleasure hath not ceased to wait 
On these expected annual rounds, 
Whether the rich man's sumptuous gate 
Call forth the unelaborate sounds, 
Or they are offered at the door 
That guards the lowliest of the poor. 

How touching, when at midnight, sweep 
Snow-muffled winds, and all is dark, 
To hear — and sink again to sleep ! 
Or at an earlier call, to mark. 
By blazing fire, the still suspense 
Of self-complacent innocence ; 





The mutual nod — the grave disguise 

Of hearts with gladness brimming o'er, 

And some unhidden tears that rise 

For names once heard, and heard no more ; 

Tears brightened by the serenade 

For infant in the cradle laid ! 

Ah ! not for emerald fields alone, 

With ambient streams more pure and bright 

Than fabled Cytherea's zone 

Glittering before the Thunderer's sight, 

Is to my heart of hearts endeared, 

The ground where we were born and reared ! 

Hail ancient manners ! sure defence. 
Where they survive, of wholesome laws : 
Remnants of love whose modest sense 
Thus into narrow room withdraws ; 
Hail usages of pristine mould, 
And ye that guard them, mountains old ! 

Bear with me, Brother ! quench the thought 

That slights this passion or condemns ; 

If thee fond fancy ever brought 

From the proud margin of the Thames, 

And Lambeth's venerable towers. 

To humbler streams and greener bowers. 



Yes they can make, who fail to find, 

Short leisure even in busiest days j 

Moments to cast a look behind, 

And profit by those kindly rays 

That through the clouds do sometimes steal, 

And all the far-off past reveal. 

Hence, while the imperial city's din 
Beats frequent on thy satiate ear, 
A pleased attention I may win 
To agitations less severe. 
That neither overwhelm nor cloy, 
But fill the hollow vale with joy ! 

Farewell to Christmas^ 


From New Christmas Carols, 1642. 


/IDarft well m^ beavp &oleful Zalc. 

To the tune of " The Ladfs Fall:' 

TV /T ARK well my heavy doleful tale, 
For Twelfth-day now is come, 
And now I must no longer sing. 

And say no words but mum ; 
For I perforce must take my leave 

Of all my dainty cheer, 
Plum-porridge, roast beef, and minced pies, 

My strong ale and my beer. 

Kind-hearted Christmas, now adieu. 

For I with thee must part, 
And for to take my leave of thee 

Doth grieve me at the heart ; 


Thou wert an ancient housekeeper, 
And mirth with meat didst keep, 

But thou art going out of town, 
Which makes me for to weep. 

God knoweth whether I again 

Thy merry face shall see, 
Which to good-fellows and the poor 

That was so frank and free. 
Thou lovedst pastime with thy heart, 

And eke good company ; 
Pray hold me up for fear I swoon. 

For I am like to die. 

Come, butler, fill a brimmer up 

To cheer my fainting heart, 
That to old Christmas I may drink 

Before he doth depart ; 
And let each one that's in this room 

With me likewise condole. 
And for to cheer their spirits sad 

Let each one drink a bowl. 

And when the same it hath gone round 
Then fall unto your cheer. 

For you do know that Christmas time 
It comes but once a year. 

p^ammisHliii ^ 




But this good draught which I have drunk 

Hath comforted my heart, 
For I was very fearful that 

My stomach would depart. 

Thanks to my master and my dame 

That doth such cheer afford ; 
God bless them, that each Christmas they 

May furnish thus their board. 
My stomach having come to me, 

I mean to have a bout, 
Intending to eat most heartily ; | 

Good friends, I do not flout. 


This piece and the next are from New k 
Christmas Carols, 1661. )] 




IR0W ifarewell, Goob Cbrtstmas* 

To the tune of ^^ Bonny Sweet Robing 

TVT OW farewell, good Christmas, 

Adieu and adieu, 
I needs now must leave thee, 

And look for a new ; 
For till thou returnest, 

I linger in pain, 
And I care not how quickly 

Thou comest again. 

But ere thou departest < ' 

I purpose to see '/^ 

What merry good pastime ^ 

This day will show me : ^i 

For a king of the wassail ^-^^j 

This night we must choose, ji 
Or else the old customs 

We carelessly lose. 



The wassail well spiced 

About shall go round, 
Though it cost my good master 

Best part of a pound : 
The maid in the buttery 

Stands ready to fill 
Her nappy good liquor 

With heart and good will. 

And to welcome us kindly 

Our master stands by, 
And tells me in friendship 

One tooth is a-dry. 
Then let us accept it 

As lovingly, friends ; 
And so for this twelfth-day 

My carol here ends. 



Cbristmas batb mat)e an iBnl>. 

To the tune of " Well a day.'' 

/^HRISTMAS hath made an end, 

Welladay, welladay, 
Which was my dearest friend, 

More is the pity ; 
For with a heavy heart 

Must I from thee depart, 
To follow plough and cart 

All the year after. 

Lent is fast coming on, 

Welladay, welladay. 
That loves not any one, 

More is the pity ; 
For I doubt both my cheeks 

Will look thin, eating leeks j 
Wise is he then that seeks 

For a friend in a corner. 

fii3iaf!lF?«g5^ ^ 



All our good cheer is gone, 

Welladay, welladay, 
And turned to a bone, 

More is the pity. 
In my good master's house 

I shall eat no more souse, 
Then give me one carouse, 

Gentle, kind butler. 

It grieves me to the heart, 

Welladay, welladay, 
From my friend to depart, 

More is the pity. 
Christmas, I mean, 'tis thee 

That thus forsaketh me. 
Yet till one hour I see 

Will I be merry. 







j fg^fe^y^a^fejJ^fBte^^^ 


: "/w every place,'' &c. — These lines are spoken by 
Salomee. For disbelieving that the Child had been born of a 
virgin, her hand was withered up ; but on her repentance God 
sent an angel who bade her worship the Child and touch his 
clothes. She obeyed, and her hand was restored ; whereupon 
she raised this hymn of praise. 

Page 4 : ^^ I sing of a maiden" — This perfect little poem will 
be new to most readers. It has been passed over by the 

Page 17 : " You ^hall well see that kinges three,''' &c. — The 
names of the three kings were Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar. 
The first was old, with grey hair and a long beard : his oflfering 
was gold. Caspar, who was young and beardless, brought 
frankincense ; and Balthazar, who was of a swarthy com- 
plexion, offered myrrh. Cold was symbolical of kingship, 
frankincense of divinity, and myrrh of humanity. The bodies 
of the three kings were taken, about three hundred years after 
their death, by the Empress Helena to Constantinople ; thence 
by Eustatius to Milan ; afterwards by Renaldus the bishop to 
Cologne, or CoUein. Hence they were commonly called the 
Three Kings of CoUein. There is an old carol about the Three 
Kings. Wright, in his collection of " Songs and Carols " pub- 
lished by the Percy Society, has printed one version of it ; but 
the text of the following copy (from Notes and Queries, 6th 
Series, vi. 505-7) is fuller and more accurate : — 



Now is Christmas y-come, 
Father and Son together in one, 
Holy Ghost us be on 

In fere-a ; ^ 
God send us a happy New Year-a ! 

I would you sing for, and I might, 
Of a Child is fair in sight ; 
His mother him bare this Yules night 
So still-a, 
And as it was his will-a. 

There came three kings from Galilee 
Into Bethlem that fair citie, 
To seek Him that e'er should be 
By right-a 
Lord and king and knight-a. 

As they came forth with their oflf'ring, 
They met with Herod that moody king 
This tide -a, 
And this to them he said-a. 

' Of whence be ye, you kinges three ? ' 
* Of the East, as you may see, 
To worship Him that e'er should be 
By right-a 
Lord and king and knight-a.' 

' When you at this Child have be, 
Come home again by me ; 
Tell me the sight that you have see ; 
I pray you, 
Go you none other way-a.' 


In fere = in company. 

g yA.^^^^yagBj^?J :^^ 

They took their leave both old and younj 
Of Herod that moody king ; 
They went forth with their offering 
By light-a, 
The star that shone so bright-a. 

Till they came into the place 
There Jesu and his mother was ; 
Offered they up with great solace 
In fere-a 
Gold and 'cense and myrrh-a. 

The Father of heaven an angel sent 
To these three kings that made present 
This tide-a, 
And this to them he said-a : — 

* My Lord have warned you every one 
By Herod king you go not home, 
For and you do he will you slone ^ 
And 'stroy-a, 
And hurt you wonderly-a.' 

Forth they went these kinges three 
Till they came home to their countrie ; 
Glad and blithe they were all three 
Of the sight that they had see ; 
By dene-a " 
The company was clean-a. 

Kneel we now here a-down ; 
Pray we in good devotion 
To the King of great renown, 
Of grace-a 
In heaven to have a place-a." 

1 Slay. 

By dene = immediately. 




(The last line of the penultimate stanza seems somewhat 

Page 19 : " Tyrle, tyrle, so merrily,^' &c. — Compare a song in 
the Coventry Mysteries : — 

" As I rode out this endnes night 
Of three jolly shepherds I saw a sight, 
And all about their fold a star shone bright : 
They sang terli terlow, 
So merrily the shepherds their pipes can blow." 

Page 21 : " This endnes nighV — The MS. from which this 
piece is taken contains a large collection of church-services, 
hymns, carols, and songs, — with music. It formerly belonged 
to Joseph Ritson, who presented it to the British Museum. 
The collection deserves to be printed in full. 

Page 25 : " As I sat under a sycamore tree.^^ — This is a variation 
of the very common carol, " As I sat on a sunny bank." 

Page 26 : William Byrd, a celebrated musician, was born 
about 1545, and died in 1623. The reader will find an account 
of his works in Oliphant's Musa Madrigalesca. Probably Byrd 
wrote only the music for his collections. 

Page 29 : ^^ Joseph was an old man''' — I do not feel at all sure 
that I have done right in dividing this carol into three parts. 
Perhaps it would have been better to print Part II. as a separate 
piece, and join Part III. to Part I. As regards the text of this 
carol no two copies are found to agree, and one is obliged to 
adopt an eclectic method. The alterations made by modern 
editors in deference to the mock-modesty of the day are singu- 
larly flat. Mr. Bramley, in " Christmas Carols New and Old," 
gives the following ridiculous rendering of the fourth and fifth 
stanzas : — 



itffaflff^^ite^jfcteP^^ J :^ 



" Mary said to Joseph 

With her sweet lips so mild, 
Pluck those cherries, Joseph, 
For to give to my Child. 

then replied Joseph, 
With words so unkind, 

1 will pluck no cherries 
For to give to thy Child." 

Could anything be more pointless? Hone, in his Ancient 
Mysteries (p. 90), gives after the first stanza — 

" When Joseph was married, 
And his cousin Mary got, 
Mary proved big with child, 
By whom Joseph knew not." 

After the penultimate stanza some copies add — 

'*And upon a Wednesday 
My vow I will make. 
And upon Good Friday 
My death I will take." 

Page 33: ** SL Stephen was a clerk." — We learn from Dr. 
Prior's "Ancient Danish Ballads" (I. 395) that the oldest 
account of the singular legend which is the subject of this carol 
" is in Vine. Bellovacensis, from an author who lived about 1200. 
Two friends sat down to dinner in Bologna, and one bade the 
other to carve the cock, which he did, so that, as he said, not St. 
Peter or our Lord himself could put it together again. The 
cock sprang up, clapped his wings and crowed, scattering the 
sauce over the two friends, and rendering them lepers till the 
day of their death. The same miracle is related as having 
occurred to prove the innocence of persons falsely accused, and is 
found in the legends of Spain Brittany, Italy, and Slavonian 



countries. How it came to be appropriated to St. Stephen 
does not appear." 

Page 36 : '"'^ Remember , O thou man.'^ — A different version of 
this carol is given in Mr. Thomas Hardy's " Under the Green- 
wood Tree." 

Page 40 : " God rest you merry, gentlemen^ — The comma, by 
a curious oversight, has been misplaced. It should stand before, 
not after, the word ** merry." 

Page 48 : ''^ Nay, Nay, sweet Jesus said," &c. — I have ven- 
tured to end the carol with this stanza. In all the copies that 
I have seen an additional stanza follows — 

** O then spoke the angel Gabriel, 
Upon one good Saint Stephen, 
Although you're but a maiden's child, 
You are the King of heaven." 

The conclusion is spoiled by the introduction of these mysterious 
lines, which have no connection with the context. 

PS'ge 55 : ^^ Joys Seven. " — There is an older carol of a similar 
sort, entitled, "Joyis Fyve." 

Page 58 : ** The Moon shines bright.'^ — Robert Bell, in his 
"Songs of the Peasantry " (1857), gives a May-day song (which 
used to be sung at Hitchin), containing some of the stanzas 
-found in this carol. Here is the song — 

" Remember us poor Mayers all ! 
And thus do we begin 
To lead our lives in righteous ways, 
Or else we die in sin. 

We have been rambling all the night 

And almost all the day ; 
And now returned back again. 

We have brought you a branch of May. 

j fHfe:gWP!P^^ 



A branch of May we have brought you, 
And at your door it stands ; 

It is but a sprout, 

But it's well budded out 
By the work of our Lord's hands. 

The hedges and trees they are so green. 

As green as any leek ; 
Our heavenly Father he watered them 

With his heavenly dew so sweet : 

The heavenly gates are open wide, 

Our paths are beaten plain ; 
And if a man be not too far gone, 

He may return again. 

The life of man is but a span, 

It flourishes like a flower ; 
We are here to-day and gone to-morrow, 

And we are dead in an hour. 

The moon shines bright and the stars give a light, 

A little before it is day ; 
So God bless you all, both great and small, 

And send you a joyful May ! " 

Page 68 : ** The contest of the Ivy and the Holly:'— The two 
following pieces are from Wright's ** Songs and Carols," pub- 
lished by the Percy Society : — 

" Hallelujah, hallelujah^ hallelujah now sing we I 

Here comes holly that is so gent. 
To please all men in his intent. 


But Lord and Lady of this hall. 
Whosoever against holly call, — 





Whosoever against holly do cry, 
In a lepe ^ shall he hang full high. 


Whosoever against holly do sing, 
He may weep and handes wring. 


** Holly and ivy made a great party 
Who should have the mastery 

In lands where they go. 
Then spake Holly, I am free and jolly, 
I will have the mastery, 

In lands where they go. 
Then spake Ivy, I am loud and proud, 
And I will have the mastery 

In lands where they go. 
Then spake Holly and set him down on his knee, 
I pray thee, gentle Ivy, say me no villany, 

In lands where they go." 

There is a modern carol of TAe Holly and the Ivy, frequently 
printed during the last hundred years. I give it from a broad- 
side printed in the last century by T. Bloomer of Birmingham : — 

" The holly and the ivy 

Now are both well grown : 
Of all the trees that are in the wood 
The holly bears the crown. 

Chorus. — The rising of the sun. 

The running of the deer, 
The playing of the merry organ. 
Sweet singing in the choir. 

A large basket. 




The holly bears a blossom 
As white as the lily flower ; 

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ 
To be our sweet Saviour. 

The holly bears a berry. 

As red as any blood ; 
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ 

To do poor sinners good. 

The holly bears a prickle, 

As sharp as any thorn ; 
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ 

On Christmas-day in the morn. 

The holly bears a bark, 

As bitter as any gall ; 
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ 

For to redeem us all. 

The holly and the ivy 

Now are both well grown : 
Of all the trees that are in the wood 

The holly bears the crown." 

Page 71: ^^ Modryb Marya" — The figure of the noble- 
hearted vicar of Morwenstow stands out with striking pic- 
turesqueness. Had he been a border-minstrel in the old 
tumultuous days, he would surely have written many a ballad 
that the world would not willingly let die. His poems are few 
and unequal ; the best are singularly precious. 

P^gs 75 • *' ^'^ shepherds went their hasty way^ — Few 
great poets have written more execrably than Coleridge, when 
he is at his worst. His carol begins well ; but nothing more 




inappropriate could be conceived than the reference to "The 
maiden's love-confessing sigh," **Waris a ruffian," &c. The 
carol was written in 1799, two years after the peerless Kubla 
Khan and the first part of Christabel. 

Page 80 : "Masters, in this hall''' — In Sedding's *'Antient 
Christmas Carols " this carol is said to be translated from the 

Page 103 : " Who can forget ^^' &c. — These stanzas are taken 
from the speech of Mercy towards the close of "Christ's 
Victorie in Heaven," the first part of ** Christ's Victorie and 
Triumph in Heaven, and Earth, over, and after Death," first 
published in 1610. The poem is full of striking and magnificent 
imagery, expressed in richly-glowing jewelled stanzas. Milton 
was a close student of Giles Fletcher. 

Page 106 : ** The Shepherds'' —Yierixy Vaughan, called "the 
Silurist," from the fact that he was born among the Silures or 
people of South Wales, is incomparably the greatest of English 
devotional poets. The pieces that I have quoted, fine as they 
are, do not give the reader a just idea of his greatness. "Who- 
ever will study Silex Scintillans as it deserves to be studied, 
read it through and through again and again, cannot fail to be 
deeply impressed by the magical beauty of the diction, the 
perfect success with which the most difficult metrical effects 
are lightly produced, the imaginative splendour and subtlety. 
Vaughan was no less a born poet than Shelley or Keats or 
Coleridge. He was born in 1621, and died in 1695. The 
first part of Silex Scintillans was published in 1651 ; the 
complete collection in two parts appeared in 1655. **01or 
Iscanus. A Collection of some select Poems and Translations. 
Formerly written by Henry Vaughan, Silurist," was published 
by the author's friends in 165 1 ; it is far inferior to the volume 

in I 




'^ of sacred poems. Vaughan published nothing after 1655. ^^' 
Grosart has edited a complete edition of Vaughan's writings. 

Page III : "New Prince, JVezv PompP — A very quaint and 
tender little poem. Another piece, entitled "New Heaven, 
New War," is perhaps almost too quaint for modem readers ; 
yet I venture to quote it in full : — 

** Come to your heaven, you heavenly quires ! 
Earth hath the heaven of your desires ; 
Remove your dwelling to your God, 
A stall is now his best abode ; 
Sith men their homage do deny. 
Come, angels, all their fault supply. 

His chilling cold doth heat require. 
Come, seraphims, in lieu of fire ; 
This little ark no cover hath, 
Let cherubs' wings his body swathe ; 
Come, Raphael, this babe must eat, 
Provide our little Toby meat. 

Let Gabriel be now his groom, 
That first took up his earthly room ; 
Let Michael stand in his defence, 
Whom love hath linked to feeble sense ; 
Let Graces rock when he doth cry, 
And angels sing his lullaby. 

The same you saw in heavenly seat 
Is he that now sucks Mary's teat ; 
Agnize your King a mortal wight, 
His borrowed weed lets not your sight ; 
Come kiss the manger where he lies. 
That is your bliss above the skies. 

260 NOTES. 

This little Babe so few days old 

Is come to rifle Satan's fold ; 

All hell doth at his presence quake, 

Though he himself for cold do shake ; 

For in this weak unarmed wise 

The gates of hell he will surprise. 

With tears he fights and wins the field, 
His naked breast stands for a shield ; 
His battering shots are babish cries ; 
His arrows, looks of weeping eyes ; 
His martial ensigns, cold and need ; 
And feeble flesh his warrior's steed. 

His camp is pitch&d in a stall, 

His bulwark but a broken wall ; 

The crib his trench, hay-stalks his stakes ; 

Of shepherds he his muster makes ; 

And thus, as sure his foe to wound, 

The angels' trumps alarum sound. 

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight ; 

Stick to the tents that he hath pight ; 

Within his crib is surest ward, 

This little Babe will be thy guard ; g' 

If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy, % 

Then flit not from this Heavenly Boy." (iH 

I must also find room for the poem, entitled "The Burning 

"As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow, i; 

Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow ; ',!r\ 
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near, 
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear, 





Who scorched with excessive heat such floods of tears did shed, 
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his 

tears were fed. 
Alas ! quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry, 
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I ! 
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns ; 
Love is the fire and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns ; 
The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blows the coals ; 
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defiled souls ; 
For which, as now on fire I am, to work them to their good, 
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood. 
With that he vanish'd out of sight and swiftly shrunk away. 
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas Day." 

Ben Jonson told Drummond of Hawthomden that he would 
have been content to destroy many of his own writings if he 
had written ** The Burning Babe." 

Southwell's longest poem, "St. Peter's Complaint," is 
smoothly written, but tedious. After three years' close impri- 
sonment in the Tower, Southwell was executed at Tyburn, on 
February 22, 1594-5, at the age of thirty-four or thirty-five. 
Though he was found guilty of treasonable practices, his sole 
offence was that he had been a zealous priest of the Church of 
Rome. He appears to have been a man of noble character, 
humble and gentle and intrepid. [In the last line of the pen- 
ultimate stanza of " New Prince, New Pomp," the word praishi 
should be prizM. I quoted from an inaccurate reprint.] 

Page 113 : '^ All after pleasures as I rid one day" — These 
lines are very characteristic of the polished high-born scholar, 
who, after strenuous attempts to gain preferment at court, 
abandoned at length the fruitless quest and found content in the 
retirement of a country vicarage. Herbert is a soothing writer ; 
his Muse took an equable steady flight, never soaring into the 




"highest heaven of invention," but yet keeping at a respectable 
distance from the ground. He numbers at least ten readers for 
Vaughan's one, — a fact which is not at all surprising. 

Page 115 : ^' Immortal Babe^' &c.— From "The Shaking of 
the Olive Tree," 1660. Joseph Hall, Bishop of Exeter, was 
born in 1574, and died on 8th September 1656. He was an 
eloquent, liberal-minded, witty, and bold divine. He was also 
one of our earliest English satirists. 

Page 116 : " The Shepherd's Song.'' — This piece is subscribed 
** E. B." in the original editions (1600 and 1614) of " England's 
Helicon." Other pieces in that delightful collection bear the 
name " Edmund Bolton " in full ; so doubtless we are right in 
giving the present poem to Bolton. In the early editions the 
two last lines are printed thus : — 

" In Daui(rs Cittie dooth this Sunne appeare : 
Clouded in flesh, yet Sheepheards sit we heere." 

My punctuation seems preferable. Bolton is known as a poet 
only from his contributions to " England's Helicon." 

Page 120 : "^ Hymn of the Nativity'"' — This poem strikingly 
exhibits Crashaw's power and weakness. Thrice-refined golden 
speech, a subtle sense of melody, fervid richness of imagination, 
— these great gifts were marred by a constant indulgence in 
violent conceits, by diffuseness, and occasionally by studied 
harshness of phrase and rhythm. The second piece, " Hymn 
for the Epiphany," offends so outrageously by ill-timed conceits, 
that I have only printed the first part of it, although there are 
many fine lines in the latter part. Crashaw was driven from 
Cambridge at the time of the Civil Wars ; escaped to France, 
embraced the Catholic faith, and afterwards became secretary 
to Cardinal Palotta at Rome. He died at Loretto in 1650 (at 





fc> the age of thirty-seven) ; and it has been supposed that he was 
poisoned. His poems were published in 1646 under the title of 
.; " Steps to the Temple," and " The Delights of the Muses." 

>^' Page 128: " Run^ shepherds, rutty" &c — Too often in read- 

ing Drummond of Hawthornden we feel that the poet is giving 
us "words, words, words." His work is always polished and 
refined, but seldom throbs with life. The two sonnets I have 
quoted are graceful but (it must be confessed) commonplace. 

S There is an elaborate life of Drummond (who died in 1649) t>y 
Professor Masson. 

Page 130 : " 0/ the Epiphany." — Sir John Beaumont was an 
elder brother of Francis Beaumont the dramatist. Drayton, in 
his Epistle to Henry Reynolds, couples the brothers together in 
terms of genial praise : — 

"Then the two Beaumonts and my Browne arose, 
My dear companions whom I freely chose 
My bosom friends ; and in their several ways 
Rightly born poets, and in these last days 
Men of much note and no less nobler parts, 
Such as have freely told to me their hearts, 
As I have mine to them." 

John Beaumont was created a baronet in 1626 and died in 1628, 
aetat, 44. He is the author of ** Bos worth Field and other 
Poems " (posthumously printed in 1629), which have been 
praised by Wordsworth for their ** spirit, elegance, and har- 

Page 132 : " Where is this blessed Babe ? " — ^Jeremy Taylor, 
whose prose is one of the glories of English literature, handles 
his lyre awkwardly. At starting we are confronted with a false 
rhyme ; and as we proceed we feel that the versification is want- 




ing in ease and fluency. "What a change when we turn to the 
perfect prose-periods of the funeral sermon on the Countess of 
Carbery ! 

Page 136 : "And they laid hint in a manger.^'' — Sir Edward 
Sherburne came of an ancient Lancashire family ; he was born 
in 1 616, and is supposed to have died in 1702. He made a 
translation of Manilius and of some plays of Seneca. When 
the Civil Wars broke out he sided with the King's party and 
lost his fortune. He was knighted by Charles the Second. 

Page 140 : " Rejoice^ rejoice^ with heart and voiced'' — The 
author, Francis Kinwelmersh, was a member of Gray's Inn. He 
had a brother Antony, who also wrote verse. 

Page 143 : "Sleeps haby^ sleeps — This Christmas Lullaby has 
not been printed before. 

Page 145: "^ Rocking Hymn."—Wi\hQx's besetting fault 
is his prolixity ; he seldom knew when to stop. It is tedious 
to read through the voluminous list of his forgotten writings, but 
to read the works themselves is a Herculean task. Yet every 
student of English poetry knows that some of Wither's songs 
are miracles of sweetness, and that even in his most arid wastes 
of prose and verse there are green oases. It is much to be wished 
that some capable scholar would make an anthology from 
Wither. From the cradle hymn I ventured to omit the second 
stanza, which ran thus : — 

" Though thy conception was in sin, 
A sacred bathing thou hast had ; 
And though thy birth unclean hath bin, 
A blameless babe thou now art made : 

Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep ; 
Be still, my dear ; sweet baby, sleep." 



^> The piece would be improved by making a few more omissions. 
Not so with the carol which follows, written in Wither's blithest 
strain, perfect from first to last. 

Page 151 : *' Now poor men to the justices.^'' — The old poet 
Gascoigne tells us that tenants used to take their landlords 
presents on Quarter-Day : 

" And when the tenants come to pay their quarter's rent, 
They bring some fowl at Midsummer, a dish of fish in Lent ; 
At Christmas a capon, at Michaelmas a goose ; 
And somewhat else at New-Year's Wde, for fear their lease flie 

Page 152 : " The wild mare in is bringing''' — The game of 
"shoeing the wild mare." A youth was chosen to be the wild 
mare : he was allowed a start, and the other players then pursued 
him with the object of shoeing him. From Strutt's meagre de- 
scription it appears to have been a poor sport. I suppose that 
in the attempt to escape from the pursuers the wild mare kicked 
out lustily, upsetting chairs and tables. I don't know what 
game is meant in the previous line, " The boys are come to 
catch the owls.'' In the next stanza "noddy" is an old game 
of cards resembling cribbage. Of the game of " Rowland-ho " 
I can find no particulars. 

ij Page 154 : " With the last year's brand" &c.— When a piece 
^ of last year's Christmas log was preserved, the household 

reckoned itself secure from the assaults of hobgoblins, as Her- 

rick elsewhere relates : — 

** Kindle the Christmas brand, and then 
Till sunset let it burn ; 
Which quenched, then lay it up again 
Till Christmas next return. 





Part must be kept wherewith to teend 

The Christmas log next year ; 
And where 'tis safely kept, the fiend 

Can do no mischief there." 

Page 156 : " Wassail the trees. ''^ — This custom was kept up 
till the end of the last century. Brand relates that in 1 790 a 
Cornish man informed him it was the custom for the Devonshire 
people on the eve of Twelfth Day to go after supper into the 
orchard with a large milk-pan full of cyder with roasted apples 
in it Each person took what was called a clayen cup, i.e. an 
earthenware cup full of cyder, and standing under each of the 
more fruitful trees, sung — 

•* Health to thee, good apple-tree, 
Well to bear, pocket-fulls, hat-fulls, 
Peck-fulls, bushel-bag-fulls." 

After drinking part of the contents of the cup, he threw the 
rest, with the fragments of the roasted apples, at the trees, amid 
the shouting of the company. Another song sung on such 
occasions was : — 

" Here's to thee, old apple-tree, 
Whence thou may'st bud, and whence thou may'st blow, 
And whence thou may'st bear apples enow ! 
Hats full ! caps full ! 
Bushel-bushel-sacks full. 
And my pockets full, too, huzza ! " 

It is supposed that the custom was a relic of the sacrifice to 

Page 163 : " March beer." — Harrison, in his "Description of 
England," ii. 6, says : — "The beer that is used at noblemen's 
tables in their fixed and standing houses is commonly of a year 
old, or peradventure of two years' tunning or more, but this is 




not general. If is also brewed in March^ and therefore called 
March beer ; but for the household it is usually not under a 
month's age, each one coveting to have the same stale as he may, 
so that it be not sour, and his bread as new as possible, so that 
it be not hot." 

Page 168 : " O you merry ^ merry souls. ''^ — These lively verses, 
with some additions and alterations, are also found in an undated 
collection of songs entitled "The Hop Garland." — Last year 
the enterprising publishers, Messrs. Field & Tuer, issued a 
reprint of ** Round about the Coal Fire." 

Page 170: ' * Caput apri defero. " — There is still another Boar's- 
head Carol, in addition to those in pp. 170-2. Ritson first 
printed it (from Add. MS. 5665, the valuable folio which he 
presented to the British Museum) : — 

** Nowell, nowell, no well, nowell. 
Tidings good I think to tell. 
The boar's head that we bring here 
Betokeneth a prince without peer, 
Is bom this day to buy us dear, 


A boar is a sovran beast, 
And acceptable in every feast, 
So mote this lord be to most and least, 

This boar's head we bring with song. 
In worship of him that thus sprung 
Of a virgin to redress all wrong, 


Page 173 : "May both with manchet stand replete."- 
chet was fine wheaten bread. 




Page 176: **A jolly wassail bowl,^^ — The undated black- 
letter '* New Christmas Carols," from which this piece is taken, 
is bound up with three other collections of Christmas verses. 
The volume, which is in the Bodleian Library, formerly belonged 
to Antony-^-Wood. Each tract numbers only a few i2mo 
pages. In the same little volume is a curious prose-tract on 
the Arraignment of Christmas. 

Page 183: ^^ Here we come a whistling.^'' — Another corres- 
pondent of Notes and Queries mentions that at Harrington in 
Worcestershire it was customary for children on St. Thomas's 
Day (December 21) to go round the village begging for apples, 
and singing — 

" Wassail, wassail through the town, 
If you've got any apples throw them down ; 
Up with the stocking and down with the shoe, 
If you've got no apples money will do ; 
The jug is white and the ale is brown, 
This is the best house in the town," 

An Oxfordshire lady tells me that at her house near Witney 
the village children sing on Christmas-eve — 

* * Holly and ivy, tickle my toe, 
Give me a red apple and let me go ; 
Give me another for my little brother, 
And I'll go home to my father and my mother." 

A writer in Current Notes for January 1856 gives the following 
verses : — 

" I wish you a merry Christmas 
And a happy New Year, 
A pocket full of money, 

And a cellar full of beer. 
And a good fat pig to serve you all the year. 


>^ j,^^i;^^j^ i giapiji ^^g ji^^ 



Ladies and gentlemen, sat by the fire, 
Pity we poor boys out in the mire." 

In Oxfordshire the children sing the first four lines of this 
piece, and then proceed : — 

** All the roads are very dirty, 
My boots are very thin ; 
I've got a little pocket. 
Will you put a penny in ? " 

Page 190 : " Ai hot cockles beside.^' — In the game of hot cockles 
one of the players, after being blindfolded, laid his head in 
another's lap. The rest proceeded in turn to strike the blind- 
folded victim, until he was released from his position by 
guessing the name of the person who struck him. In Strutt's 
" Sports and Pastimes " (ed. 1801, p. 293) there is an illustration 
if of this ancient sport from a fifteenth-century illuminated MS. 

■jl Page 214 : " Provide for Christmas,^"* — Poor Robin's Almancu^ 

;s from which this and other pieces are taken, began in 1663 and 

;^ ended in 1 776. No public or private library, so far as I know, 

4 possesses a complete set of these very interesting almanacs. 

I] It has been stated that Robert Herrick was the original pro- 

g jector of the series, but I believe there is no authority for the 

% statement. '* Poor Robin " was the nom de plume of Robert 

\ Winstanley of Saffron Walden, a list of whose publications is 

k given by Mr. H. Eckroyd Smith in Notes and Queries^ ser. vi. 

% vol. 7, pp. 321-3. More information about Poor Robin is very 

% much needed. 

i^l Page 225 : " Right wantonly a mumming^ — Christmas mum- 

^ ming still continues in many parts of the country, but it is only 
the shadow of its former self. A few years ago it was kept up 
at Chiswick. Robert Bell (in " Songs of the Peasantry" ) gives an 



amusing Mummer's Song that used to be sung in the neighbour- 
hood of Richmond, Yorkshire, by a rustic actor dressed as an 
old horse. One verse in a Somersetshire Mummer's song is 
very droll : — 

"Here comes I, liddle man Jan, 
With my zword in my hand ! 
If you don't all do 

As you be told by I, 
I'll zend you all to York 

For to make apple-pie." 

My fair Oxfordshire correspondent writes : — " The mummers 
still go round to the farm-houses at home, but their glory has 
departed. I can remember being immensely pleased with their 
acting, and remember one little bit they said which always 
took my fancy. One fellow would shout out, * Come in, Jack 
Spinner ! ' Then in came Jack Spinner, saying : — 

' Yer comes I as an't bin it, 
We my gret yead and little wit.' 

{i.e. Here come I that haven't been yet 
With my great head and little wit.) " 

In "Round about our Coal Fire" we read: — "Then comes 
Mumming or Masquerading, when the squire's wardrobe is 
ransacked for dresses of all kinds, and the coal-hole searched 
around, or corks burnt to black the faces of the fair or make 
deputy-moustaches; and every one in the family except the 
squire himself must be transformed from what they were." 

Page 227 : 0/ ash-heaps^ in the which ye use" &c. — William 
Browne (in one of his sonnets to Celia) alludes to this curious 
mode of divination : — 



* ' If, forced by our sighs, the flame shall fly 
Of our kind love and get within thy rind, 
Be wary, gentle Bay, and shriek not high 
When thou dost such unusual fervour find : 
Suppress the fire, for, should it take thy leaves, 
Their crackling would betray us and thy glory." 

Works, ed. Hazlitt, ii. 288. 

Page 229 : " Where bean's the king of the sport here J' — A bean 
and pea were enclosed in the Twelfth-cake. When the cake 
was divided, he who got the slice containing the bean was king 
of the feast, and the girl to whose lot the pea fell was queen. 
This Twelfth-tide custom existed in France as early as the 
thirteenth century. See some interesting remarks in the preface 
to Sandys' Christmas Carols (pp. lxxvi.-ix.) 

Page 230 : * * IVith gentle lambs-wool. " — Lambs-wool consisted 
of strong nappy ale, in which roasted crab-apples were pressed. 
Nares conjectures that the name was derived from the liquor's 
"smoothness and softness, resembling the wool of lambs." 

Page 231 : " Christmas in the Olden Time,'^ — It may not be 
amiss here to quote a lengthy passage, relating to Christmas 
observances, from the fourth book of Barnabe Googe's " Popish 
Kingdom," (1570), a translation of Thomas Kirchmaier's [Nao- 
georgus'] " Regnum Papisticum " (1553). The writer is describ- 
ing the customs observed in Germany ; but in many respects the 
description would be equally applicable to English society in the 
middle of the sixteenth century : — 

" Three weeks before the day whereon was born the Lord of 

And on the Thursday boys and girls do run in every place, 
And bounce and beat at every door, with blows and lusty snaps 
And cry, the advent of the Lord, not born as yet perhaps : 




And wishing to the neighbours all, that in the houses dwell, 
A happy year, and everything to spring and prosper well : 
Here have they pears and plums, and pence, each man gives 

For these three nights are always thought unfortunate to be : 
"Wherein they are afraid of sprites and cankered witches' spite, 
And dreadful devils black and grim, that then have chiefest 

In these same days young wanton girls that meet for marriage be. 
Do search to know the names of them that shall their husbands 

Four onions, five, or eight, they take, and make in every one 
Such names as they do fancy most and best do think upon. 
Thus near the chimney then they set, and that same onion than 
The first doth sprout doth surely bear the name of their good 

Their husband's nature eke they seek to know and all his 

When as the sun hath hid himself, and left the starry skies. 
Unto some woodstack do they go, and while they there do 

Each one draws out a faggot stick, the next that comes to hand. 
Which if it straight and even be, and have no knots at all, 
A gentle husband then they think shall surely to them fall. 
But if it foul and crooked be, and knotty here and there, 
A crabbed churlish husband then they earnestly do fear. 
These things the wicked Papists bear, and suffer willingly. 
Because they neither do the end, nor fruits of faith espie : 
And rather had the people should obey their foolish lust, 
Than truly God to know, and in him here alone to trust. 
Then comes the day wherein the Lord did bring his birth to 

Whereas at midnight up they rise, and every man to Mass. 




This time so holy counted is, that divers earnestly 

Do think the waters all to wine are changed suddenly : 

In that same hour that Christ himself was born, and came to 

And unto water straight again transformed and altered quite. 
There are beside that mindfully the money still do watch, 
That first to altar comes, which then they privily do snatch. 
The priests lest other should it have takes oft the same away, 
Whereby they think throughout the year to have good luck in 

And not to lose : then straight at game till daylight do they 

To make some present proof how well their hallowed pence will 

Three masses every priest doth sing upon that solemn day, 
With offerings unto every one, that so the more may play. 
This done, a wooden child in clouts is on the altar set, 
About the which both boys and girls do dance and trimly jet, 
And carols sing in praise of Christ, and for to help them here, 
The organs answer every verse, with sweet and solemn cheer. 
The priests do roar aloud, and round about the parents stand, 
To see the sport, and with their voice do help them and their 

Thus wont the Coribants perhaps upon the mountain Ide, 
The crying noise of Jupiter new born with song to hide, 
To dance about him round, and on their brazen pans to beat, 
Lest that his father finding him, should him destroy and eat. 
Then followeth Saint Stephen's Day, whereon doth every 

His horses jaunt and course abroad, as swiftly as he can. 
Until they do extremely sweat, and then they let them blood, 
For this being done upon this day, they say doth do them 





And keeps them from all maladies and sickness through the 

As if that Stephen any time took charge of horses here. 

Next John the son of Zebedee hath his appointed day, 
Who once by cruel tyrant's will constrained was, they say, 
Strong poison up to drink, therefore the Papists do believe. 
That whoso puts their trust in him, no poison them can grieve. 
The wine beside that hallowed is, in worship of his name, 
The priests do give the people that bring money for the same. 
And after with the selfsame wine are little manchets made, 
Against the boisterous winter storms, and sundry such like 

trade ; 
The men upon this solemn day do take this holy wine. 
To make them strong, so do the maids to make them fair and 

Then comes the day that calls to mind the cruel Herod's 
Who seeking Christ to kill, the King of everlasting life, 
Destroyed the infants young, a beast unmerciless, 
And put to death all such as were of two years age or less. 
To them the sinful wretches cry, and earnestly do pray 
To get them pardon for their faults, and wipe their sins away. 
The parents when this day appears, do beat their children all 
(Though nothing they deserve), and servants all to beating fall. 
And monks do whip each other well, or else their Prior great, 
Or Abbot mad, doth take in hand their breeches all to beat 
In worship of these Innocents, or rather as we see, 
In honour of the cursed king that did this cruelty. 

The next to this is New Year's Day, whereon to every friend 
They costly presents in do bring and New Year's gifts do 

These gifts the husband gives his wife and father eke the child. 
And master on his men bestows the like, with favour mild. 




And good beginning of the year they wish and wish again, 
According to the ancient guise of heathen people vain. 
These eight days no man doth require his debts of any man, 
Their tables do they furnish out with all the meat they can : 
With marchpanes, tarts, and custards great they drink with 

staring eyes, 
They rout and revel, feed and feast as merry all as pies, 
As if they should at the entrance of this New Year have to die, 
Yet would they have their bellies full and ancient friends ally. 

The wise men's day here followeth, who out from Persia far, 
Brought gifts and presents unto Christ, conducted by a star. 
The Papists do believe that these were kings, and so them call. 
And do affirm that of the same there were but three in all. 
Here sundry friends together come, and meet in company. 
And make a king amongst themselves by voice or destiny ; 
"Who after princely guise appoints his officers alway. 
Then unto feasting do they go, and long time after play : 
Upon their boards in order thick the dainty dishes stand. 
Till that their purses empty be and creditors at hand. 
Their children herein follow them, and choosing princes here. 
With pomp and great solemnity, they meet and make good 

With money either got by stealth, or of their parents eft, 
That so they may be trained to know both riot here and theft. 
Then also every householder to his ability. 
Doth make a mighty cake, that may suffice his company : 
Herein a penny doth he put, before it come to fire. 
This he divides according as his household doth require ; 
And every piece distributeth, as round about they stand. 
Which in their names unto the poor is given out of hand ; 
But whoso chanceth on the piece wherein the money lies 
Is counted king amongst them all, and is with shouts and 




Exalted to the heavens up, who taking chalk in hand, 
Doth make a cross on every beam and rafters as they stand : 
Great force and power have these against all injuries and 

Of cursed devils, sprites and bugs, of conjurings and charms. 
So much this king can do, so much the crosses bring to pass, 
Made by some servant, maid or child, or by some foolish ass. 
Twice six nights then from Christmas they do count with dili- 
Wherein each master in his house doth bum up frankincense : 
And on the table sets a loaf, when night approacheth near. 
Before the coals, and frankincense to be perfumed there : 
First bowing down his head he stands, and nose and ears and 

He smokes and with his mouth receive[sj the fume that doth 

arise : 
Whom followeth straight his wife, and doth the same full solemnly, 
And of their children every one, and all their family : 
Which doth preserve they say their teeth, and nose, and eyes, 

and ear, 
From every kind of malady, and sickness all the year. 
When every one received hath this odour great and small. 
Then one takes up the pan with coals, and frankincense and 

Another takes the loaf, whom all the rest do follow here, 
And round about the house they go, with torch or taper clear. 
That neither bread nor meat do want, nor witch with dreadful 

Have power to hurt their children, or to do their cattle harm. 
There are that three nights only do perform this foolish gear, 
To this intent, and think themselves in safety all the year. 
To Christ dare none commit himself. And in these days beside 
They judge what weather all the year shall happen and betide : 



Ascribing to each day a month, and at this present time 
The youth in every place do flock, and, all appareled fine, 
With pipers through the streets they run, and sing at every door 
In commendation of the man rewarded well therefore, 
Which on themselves they do bestow, or on the church, as tho* 
The people were not plagued with rogues and begging friars 

There cities are where boys and girls together still do run, 
About the street with like, as soon as night begins to come, 
And bring abroad their wassail bowls, who well rewarded be 
With cakes and cheese and great good cheer and money plen- 


Page 239 : '* Mark well my heavy doleful tale.'* — Christmas 
festivities were not wholly ended on Twelfth day. The 7th of 
January, Distaff day (otherwise called Rock day), was given 
up partly to business and partly to play, as Herrick tells us in 
the following dainty poem (two lines of which I am forced to 

omit) : — 

*' Partly work and partly play 
Ye must on Saint Distaffs day. 
From the plough soon free your team, 
Then come home and fodder them. 
If the maids a-spinning go, 
Bum the flax and fire the tow. 

Bring in pails of water then, 
Let the maids bewash the men. 
Give Saint Distaff all the right, 
Then bid Christmas sport good night ; 
And next morrow, every one 
To his own vocation," 



On Candlemas day, the 2nd of February, the hoUy and ivy 
were taken down, and all traces of Christmas disappeared, as 
Herrick tells us in his Ceremonies for Candlemas Eve. Lector 
benevole. vale. 

i[ule*s come antr Rule's gane, 
^nt( ijje fjabe fcastetj to eel; 

,Sae 3ocft tnaun to fjts flail again, 
^nti 3enn2 to l^er totjeel. 


Edinburcrh and London 

4 mwmm ^ mmmmmsmmmmmmmm