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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleWassail song
Roud No.209
Collected FromPritchard, Dennis
LocationSherston
CountyWiltshire
Collected ByKennett, Andrew
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryCommunication from Gwylim Davies
Source Secondary
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Wassail, wassail all over the town
Our faces are white and our ale is brown
The bowl it is made of a maple tree
With a wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to there
Drink to thee, drink to thee
With a wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee

Verse 2

Here’s luck to the ox and to his right horn
Pray God send our master a good crop of corn
A good crop of corn and a host of hay
To drive the cold winter winds* away (pronounced why-nds)
Winds away, winds away
To drive the cold winter winds away.

Verse 3

Here’s luck to the cow and to his right ear
Pray God send our mistress a Happy New Year
A Happy New Year that ever you’d see
With a wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to thee
Drink to thee, drink to thee
With a wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee

Verse 4

O Come young maidens I think there are some
That would not let old men stand on the cold stones
But trip to the door, and draw back the pin
And let we jolly wassailers all in
Let us all in and see how we do
With a wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to you
Drink to you, drink to you
With a wassailing bowl we’ll drink to you

Verse 5

Come butler, come fill us a bowl of your best
I hope your soul in heaven will rest
And if you don’t give us a bowl of your small
Then down goes butler, bowl and all
Bowl and all, bowl and all
Then down goes butler, bowl and all.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1
Mr Dennis Pritchard [born about 1902] told Andrew Kennet on 1 September, 1973, that he saw the group of about twelve wassailers going around at Christmas time in about 1910. The wassailers had no special dress but wore their normal clothes with holly and mistletoe in their hats and button holes. They carried a bowl which was shaped like an ordinary pudding basin with a single hoop on which holly and mistletoe were twined and from which they drank. The festivities started about a week before Christmas and went on for as long as the men could stay the course. It started with about twelve men and dwindled as the week went on. The wassailers did not appear on Christmas but did so again on Boxing Day, they all turned out for a glorious finish ending with much drink being consumed.

He sometimes pronounced wassail as waysail.

Note 2
The text was collected by Andrew Kennett and was passed to me by Gwilym Davies. My thanks to both for their permission to reproduce the text and notes.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2013
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