The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Christmas Now Is Past

Words: Nicholas Breton, 1558-1626

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 222-3.

1. The Christmas now is past, and I have kept my fast,
    With prayer every day;
And, like a country clown, with nodding up and down,
    Have passed the time away.

2. As for old Christmas games, or dancing with fine dames
    Or shows, or pretty plays;
A solemn oath I swear, I came not where they were,
    Not all these holy days.

3. I did not sing one note, except it were by rote,
    Still buzzing like a bee;
To ease my heavy heart of some though little smart,
    For want of other glee.

4. And as for pleasant wine, there was no drink so fine,
    For to be tasted here;
Full simple was my fare, if that I should compare,
    The same to Christmas cheer.

5. I saw no king of sight that might my mind delight,
    Believe me, noble dame;
But everything I saw did fret at woe my maw,
  To think upon the same.

6. Upon some busy balk full fain I was to walk,
    In woods, from tree to tree,
For want of better room; but since my fatal doom
    Hath so appointed me;

7. I stood therewith content, the Christmas full was spent,
    In hope that God will send
A better yet next year, my heavy heart to cheer;
    And so I make an end. 

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